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Digitized King Sermon: “Paul’s Letter to American Christians”

January 15, 2021
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Fifth General Synod of the United Church of Christ., 1965. Pearl ID: 143453

There are a plethora of items in our collection that relate to racial justice, and to the legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Today we are choosing to highlight Dr. King’s sermon, "Paul's Letter to American Christians.” This address is particularly timely because of the way it speaks to our current racial and political climate.

King’s sermon was delivered at a Commission on Ecumenical Mission and Relations (COEMAR) meeting in Pittsburgh, PA in 1958. In this sermon, Dr. King reads a fictional letter from the apostle Paul to American Christians of the mid-twentieth century. Loosely based on Paul’s letter to the Romans, King’s sermon notes the gap between the nation’s scientific progress and its ethical and spiritual development. He denounces exploitative capitalism, spiritual arrogance, racial segregation, and self-righteous egotism and offers the remedy of Christian love.

This item holds a special place in our collection because we have original audio of the sermon, not just words on the page. Through this digitized item researchers can experience the sermon in the way it was meant to be experienced, with Dr. King’s masterful use of cadence and tone driving his message home.

Listen to King's powerful sermon in Pearl Digital Collections and read the transcript here.

African American...