Lot 154 of 435:
Two letters from Martin Luther King Jr at Boston University  

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Lot closed - Sold For:$13,200
Estimate:
$20,000 - $30,000

Title:
Two early letters from Martin Luther King, Jr. regarding his doctoral studies at Boston University
Author:
King, Martin Luther, Jr.
Place:
Publisher:
Date:
1951 & 1952
Description:

Two letters. One a typed letter, signed, from Atlanta, dated June 15, 1951. 11x8½" The second a autograph letter, signed, on a printed petition to the faculty of Boston University. 9½x7¾".

The earlier letter addressed to Dean Charles Alter asking for his assistance in locating house in the University area, prior to his September, 1951 start at the University's School of Theology. “I have been accepted in Boston University Graduate School as a regular student and a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the field of Systematic Theology. I am now interested in finding living accommodations on the campus, or at least very near by. A single room would be preferable. If such is possible I would appreciate having it reserved. I am also interested in applying for a graduate Fellowship...” King later recalled his experience with housing bias in 1951 Boston in an interview with the Boston Globe in 1965 where he is quoted: "I remember very well trying to find a place to live. I went into place after place where there were signs that rooms were for rent. They were for rent until they found out I was a Negro, and suddenly they had just been rented." The petition, on a Boston University form, is King's request for addition class hours towards his degree: "I am desirous of taking twelve hours towards the PhD degree this semester... At present I have completed twenty-eight hours towards the degree, and passed the French examination. I plan to take the German examination in October, 1952...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...” King received his doctorate from Boston University in June of 1953. We can locate no letters from King of near or earlier date than the present examples. A rare and unique glimpse into the education of the great African-American Civil Rights leader, exemplifying his own experiences with the systemic racism in the American society of the 1950s.

Lot Amendments
Condition:
Creased from mailing; overall fine.
 
Item number:
290501
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