Content thumbnail Becoming King: Martin Luther King Jr.
AI Content Chat (Beta) logo

3 “Making a Contribution” The Highlander Folk School seems like a wonderful place. I am look- ing forward with eager anticipation to attending the workshop, hop- ing to make a contribution to the fulfillment of complete freedom for all people. —Rosa Parks, July 6, 1955 As 1954 dawned, Martin Luther King Jr. was aggressively pursuing vari- ous job opportunities. He had just completed his coursework and exami- nation requirements for his doctorate at Boston University and hoped to find a teaching or pastoral position to support both himself and his wife while finishing his dissertation. Although tempted by academic op- portunities, he preferred to begin his career as a pastor. Through Dexter Avenue Baptist Church deacon Robert Nesbitt, King received an invita- tion to preach a sermon at the historic Montgomery church, which was without a pastor following the departure of Vernon Johns. The day be- fore he was scheduled to preach, he traveled from Atlanta to Montgomery with an unexpected passenger: Vernon Johns. The former Dexter pastor was preaching at Ralph Abernathy’s First Baptist Church the following 1 morning. As the men drove, they passed within a few miles of the campus of Tuskegee Institute, where that very day NAACP attorney Thurgood Marshall was delivering a keynote address for the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Attendees packed the chapel to hear the lawyer who had argued the pending Brown v. Board of Education case before the U.S. Supreme Court. Marshall asserted that segregation was coming to an end, while also admitting that many southerners were willing to go to great lengths to impede any challenge to white supremacy, as evidenced by those “talking about calling out the militia and using other drastic measures.” He challenged his audience to “overcome the stigma of sec- 53

Becoming King: Martin Luther King Jr. - Page 74 Becoming King: Martin Luther King Jr. Page 73 Page 75