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Dexter Avenue Baptist Church (Montgomery, AL)

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. first became a full-time pastor in 1954 at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. The church was founded in 1877 when a group of congregants separated from the First Colored Baptist Church. It tended to attract members of the black community with upward social mobility. Prior to King, Vernon Johns, an eccentric but intellectually gifted pastor had led the congregation. During King’s tenure, Dexter became a center of civil rights activism. The decision to launch the Montgomery Bus Boycott was made there, and King made use of the church as president of the Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA). In 1974 Dexter was designated a national historic landmark, and in 1978 its name was changed to Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church.

Associated Archive Content : 76 results

Letter from Laura Taylor to MLK

A supporter writes Dr. King to commend his work in the anti-war movement. The author also tells Dr. King that she writes President Johnson and other legislators regularly on the topic, and references a series of letters she sent on the recent Mother's Day holiday.

Letter from Matthew Killian to MLK

Matthew Killian shares his outrage with the unjustified suffering that violence creates. Mr. Killian continues by providing support to Dr. King in an interpretation of a scripture concerning Peter and the woman at the foot of the cross. In closing, Killian wishes blessings upon the Reverend for his efforts to complete his work.

Letter from Maude L. Ballou to Mrs. King about MLK Schedule

The secretary of Dr. King's first pastorate, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, sent this correspondence to Mrs. Coretta Scott King. The letter addresses Dr. King's itinerary, upon his return to Montgomery, and hopes for his full recovery, following his 1958 stabbing in Harlem.

Letter from Maude to MLK

Maude extends her wishes for the rapid recovery of Dr. King, following a stabbing in New York. She assures him that she is holding down the fort and provides him with a breakdown of correspondences that he has received.

Letter from MLK to John L. Tilley

Dr. King is requesting the use of Morehouse College for a three-day conference of southern leaders. The conference will be sponsored by the SCLC and the Fellowship of Reconciliation. Target issues include nonviolence and social action.

Letter from MLK to Rev. L. C. Henegan

Dr. King thanks Rev. L. C. Henegan for his generous contribution to the Montgomery Improvement Association.

Letter from MLK to Rev. William A. Dennis

Dr. King requests the presence of Reverend Dennis at a SCLC Executive Board meeting in Atlanta, GA. Reverend Dennis responds by stating he will not be able to attend, but he will send someone in his place.

Letter from Pastor G. Murray Branch to MLK

In this letter, Pastor Branch invites Dr. King to be the speaker on the 90th Anniversary of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church.

Letter from Rev. Herbert H. Eaton to Dr. and Mrs. King

Reverend Eaton, pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, congratulates Dr. and Mrs. King on the birth of their child, Edith Bernice.

Letter from Richard Nixon to MLK

Vice President Richard M. Nixon expresses his appreciation for Dr. King's participation at the recent Religious Leaders Conference on Equal Job Opportunity. Nixon emphasizes the need for ongoing collaboration between local and national leaders to advance critical policy initiatives.

Letter from Richmond Rudden to MLK

Richmond Rudden, Chairman of the Lectures-Concerts Committee to Lafayette College, invites Dr. King to speak at the college during the 1966-1967 academic year.

Letter from Roland Smith to MLK

Roland Smith requests that Dr. King prepare a list of themes for the Baptist Training Union. Smith encloses a copy of themes from the previous year for Dr. King to use as a template.

Letter from Samuel W. Williams to MLK

In this letter, Rev. Samuel W. Williams, Pastor of Friendship Baptist Church, offers encouraging words to Dr. King.

Letter from Sister M. Angelice to MLK

Sister Angelice, Acting President of Ursiline College in Louisville, congratulates Dr. King on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize and expresses admiration for his civil rights efforts.

Letter to MLK Regarding Merit Award

The author writes a letter that advocates for Dr. King to win an award of merit. In the letter, he discusses some major events that occurred throughout the Reverend's life. Some of these events include: leading the Civil Rights Movement, winning the Nobel Peace Prize, and becoming a strong political figure.

Letter to Rev. Ralph Abernathy from MLK

Dr. King sends checks and a telephone bill to the SCLC.

Loving Your Enemies

Dr. King interprets Jesus' command to "love your enemies" and outlines how to accomplish this goal. He closes this sermon by relating the philosophy of love to the use of nonviolence as a means to overcome oppression.

Mars Lecture Series

This 1958 program features Dr. King as guest lecturer for the Mars Lectures at Northwestern University.

Memorandum from Jacob Seidenberg to Participants

Jacob Seidenberg, the Executive Director of the President's Committee on Government Contracts, provides details on the agenda to the participants in the Religious Leaders Conference. Dr. King was one of those participants.

MLK - Out of the Night of Segregation

This essay by Dr. King is featured in the February 1958 edition of Lutheran Woman's Work. King focuses on nonviolence and segregation while critiquing the sociological impacts of oppression.

MLK Interview with Glenn E. Smiley

This early (1956) interview with Dr. King has as its center the Montgomery Bus Boycott, a seminal event in Dr. King's career and the Civil Rights Movement.

MLK Sermon: The Dimensions of A Complete Life

In this sermon given at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Dr. King details the three dimensions of a complete life: length, breadth, and height.

MLK's Acceptance Sermon, Dexter Avenue Baptist Church

Dr. King accepts his appointment as the new pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. His first time serving as head of a ministry, Dr. King admits that he has no pretense to being an extraordinary preacher and comes only with the claim of "being a servant of Christ."

New Wine in New Bottles

Dr. King outlines a sermon he preached at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery on October 17, 1954. His text is Matthew 9:17. He compares new ideas to new wine, stating that an idea cannot progress if people are not ready to accept it; this is what it means for an idea to be before its time. New ideas require new structures to contain them. The same is true in our personal lives when we resolve to rid ourselves of bad habits.

Opportunity, Fidelity, and Reward

This handwritten outline reflects a sermon delivered by Dr. King at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in January of 1954. The sermon is structured around "The Parable of the Talents" taken from Matthew 25:14-30. Dr. King highlights how the passage assures a "reward for faithfulness."

Out of Segregation's Long Night

Dr. King addresses the crisis of race relations in America by asserting that there would not be a crisis if blacks accepted inferiority and injustice. He also discusses the physical and spiritual harm that segregation and slavery has caused for blacks and the effect that violence has on the community. Dr. King closes with remarks regarding nonviolence and what it truly represents.

Out of the Long Night of Segregation

In this article, "Out of the Long Night of Segregation", Dr. King discusses the result of Negroes waiting to be treated as equals to no avail. He also presents several actions that should take place to provoke change.

Overcoming an Inferiority Complex

The author writes about the psychological condition of an inferiority complex. He references present day college students and various historical figures that have all suffered from inferiority complexes.

Paul's Letter to American Christians

Dr. King shares "Paul's Letter to American Christians" with the congregation of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. In this contemporary letter revised by Dr. King, Apostle Paul writes concerning the "responsibilities of Americans to live as Christians." He discusses his appreciation for America, the danger of capitalism, communism, segregation in churches, and the many denominations of Protestantism. But above all things, Apostle Paul believes that love is the most "durable power in the world."

Program - Dexter Avenue Baptist Church 18th Anniversary Banquet 1957

The printed program, shown here, was for an anniversary banquet, in celebration of the 80th Anniversary of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, in Montgomery, Alabama. Dr. King became the pastor at Dexter Avenue from 1954-1960. Mr. T.M. Alexander, of Atlanta, Georgia, is listed as the keynote speaker. Dr. King delivered the invocation and closing remarks for the anniversary banquet, held on December 13, 1957.

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