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Martin Luther King Fellows in Black Religious Studies, Inc. Collection
1972-1990 (bulk dates 1972-1975)
5.5 linear feet
After the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., students at Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, New York, demanded a program and professorship in Black Church Studies as a memorial to the slain religious and civil rights leader. Dr. Henry H. Mitchell, a prominent pastor, educator, and author, was conferred the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Professorship in Black Church Studies July 1, 1969. In September of that year, the Program in Black Church Studies was launched. In 1971 Dr. Mitchell applied for and received a three-year grant for a Fellows project to research and develop literature, bibliographic materials and a curriculum in the area of Black church practice. Twenty King Fellows were selected and began their studies in the summer 1972. The Martin Luther King Fellows consisted of African American ministers and scholars representing a cross-section of ages, talents, denominations and geographical affiliations. The program included five weeks intensive study in West Africa, six weeks colloquia at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, and another six week colloquium at sponsoring seminaries. The Fellows also studied in the West Indies and the Sea Islands off the coast of Georgia. Upon receiving their Doctor of Ministry degrees at the end of the project in 1975, the Fellows formed a corporation and met annually for the purpose of continuing the objectives of the grant.
The Martin Luther King Fellows in Black Religious Studies, Inc. Collection consists of correspondence, curriculum materials, reports, financial papers, printed materials, periodicals and photographs related to the Fellows program. The correspondence is mainly that of Henry H. Mitchell as project director. Most of the photographs were taken during the Fellows' study abroad in West Africa in the summer of 1972. There are also agendas and minutes to meetings from 1974-1988, correspondence, and the certificate of incorporation for the MLK Fellows Inc. Of interest are the seventy audiotapes of sermons, lectures, and dissertation conferences recorded 1970-1977.