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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

Recommendation Letter for Mrs. Lillie Hunter from MLK

Dr. King drafts a letter of recommendation for a former employee, Lillie Hunter.

Remember Who You Are!

Dr. King addresses the student body and officials of Howard University with a poignant sermon entitled, "Remember Who You Are." The content of the sermon makes various references between Jesus, Shakespeare and Greek philosophers who sought to identify the mechanisms that made man important to society.

Sworn Deposition of MLK

Dr. King records an event that happened on a train between Nashville and Montgomery, during which a policeman denied him access to the general waiting room.

Telegram from Mrs. Terry Brown to MLK

Mrs. Terry Brown writes Dr. King reflecting on her participation in the Great Freedom March. She also expresses to Dr. King how his words are a source of inspiration.

Telegram from United States House of Representatives to MLK

The United States House of Representatives congratulates Dr. King and other leaders on their march to Montgomery, Alabama. They believe that the march will be recognized as the "beginning of genuine democracy" in American history.

Tenth Annual Institute of the Montgomery Improvement Association

This program for the Tenth Annual Institute of the Montgomery Improvement Association gives a detailed history of the organization's events from 1955 to 1965. "Highlights At A Glance" include: accounts of violence and community bombings, school integration, freedom rides, The Montgomery Bus Boycott, and the establishment of the SCLC. Photographs of leadership, churches, voter registration, and marches appear throughout. This document also shows Dr. King's handwritten notes, copies of related news articles, and the individual programs for each day of the Institute.

The Birth of a New Nation

Dr. King compares the ongoing civil rights struggle in the United States to the Hebrews' Exodus from Egypt.

The Dexter Echo: Christianity & Curiosity

Congregation members and supporters of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama are informed of monthly programming and important updates, including the recent change in pastoral leadership from Dr. Martin Luther King to Rev. Herbert H. Eaton.

The Dexter Echo: February 20, 1957

The Dexter Echo is the official publication of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. The newsletter mentions Dr. King, who was minister of the church at the time, and Coretta Scott King in articles pertaining to their farewell party and Mrs. King receiving an award.

The Dexter Echo: Not Guilty!

This article states that Dr. King was found not guilty for tax evasion charges. The state's tax agent refused to lie under oath or allow prejudice to sway the facts.

The Dimensions of a Complete Life

Dr. King begins this sermon with the story of John's first sight of the holy city of Jerusalem. He uses the story to emphasize "an eternal truth which we must forever recognize, and that is that life at its best and life as it should be is the life that is complete on all sides." This famous sermon had been drafted several times and also takes up the name "Three Dimensions of A Complete Life."

The Meaning of Hope

Dr. King delivered this sermon while pastoring Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. In spite of the existence of racial injustice in America, Dr. King maintains hope for equality, and reminds the church of their responsibility to "keep the flame of hope burning."

The Misuse of Prayer

In this sermon delivered at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Dr. King elaborates on the proper uses of prayer and how it should be a supplemental asset.

The Montgomery Story

Dr. King delivers an address entitled the "Montgomery Story" at the NAACP 47th Annual Convention. He address several issues throughout the address including: segregation, civil rights, equality, slavery and religion.

Transformed Noncomformist

Dr. King delivered this sermon in November 1957 while serving as the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church. In the sermon, Dr. King discusses the Christian dilemma of being "a citizen of two worlds: the world of time and the world of eternity." He situates the experience of black people in America within this dichotomy, and asserts that Christians must not conform to the world of mass opinion when it lacks Christian virtue, but must assume nonconformity.

What is Man?

Citing views from historical and contemporary figures, Dr. King asserts that the definition of "man" lies somewhere between God and an animal. Dr. King contends that, although man is limited by time and space, humans are not animals, because they have the capacity for rational thought. However, the central theme that Dr. King argues is that humanity is inherently evil and must constantly strive for high moral standards.

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