Exceptionally Rare Hand-written Letter Signed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a graduate student at Boston University in 1952

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Hand-Written Autograph Letter Signed.
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Hand-Written Autograph Letter Signed.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Hand-Written Autograph Letter Signed.


Item Number: 82602

Boston: 1952.

Hand-written autograph letter signed by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to his academic adviser at Boston University Graduate School. The letter, dated September 1952 on an official Registrar Petition form addressed to the faculty reads: “I am desirous of taking twelve hours towards the PhD degree this semester in the Boston University Graduate School. My major field is Systematic theology. At present I have completed twenty-eight hours toward the degree, and passed the French examination. I plan to take the German examination in October, 1952. I would have taken the examination before now, but I wanted to make sure that I had an adequate background in German before taking it. For the past two years I have been a close student of German. In the light of this I am fairly certain that I can pass the examination in October. Martin L. King Jr. Graduate Student.” With faculty notes beneath signed by King’s academic adviser, “1952 L. Harold DeWolf. Approved. Granted for fall semester only.” King has also clearly printed his name on the verso, visible though an opening at in the back of the frame. Double matted and framed with a photograph of a young King. The entire piece measures 19 inches by 15 inches. An exceptionally rare example providing a remarkable glimpse into the iconic leader’s education.

Martin Luther King, Jr. first received recognition for his outstanding skills as a public speaker as a student at Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia. He received early acceptance into the Liberal Arts program at the historically black Morehouse College at the age of 15, also in Atlanta, and at age 18 decided to enter the ministry. After graduating from Morehouse in 1948 with a B.A. in Sociology, King enrolled in Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania where he graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Divinity in 1951. That same year, he applied to Graduate School at Boston University where, in June of 1955, he received his Ph.D. in Systematic Theology with a dissertation titled A Comparison of the Conceptions of God in the Thinking of Paul Tillich and Henry Nelson Wieman. While pursuing doctoral studies, King worked as an assistant minister at Boston's historic Twelfth Baptist Church with Reverend William Hunter Hester, a friend of King's father who became an important influence on King's later work.

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