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Untold Lowell Stories : Black History

Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 – 1968)


Image 1. First United Baptist Church, Lowell Massachusetts. Image 2. Martin Luther King, Jr., Student Photograph, Boston University.


Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), black, born in Atlanta, Georgia, son of Martin Luther King, Sr. and Alberta Williams.

Lowell on April 12, 1953, Rev. Otto Loverude, (1900-1973) minister, First United Baptist Church, Church Street, invited Martin Luther King, Jr. who was then a student in the doctoral program at Boston University to come to the First Baptist Church, Church Street, Lowell to present a program.

In the letter of invitation, Loverude wrote:

“tell us something of what it means to be a member of the minority race in the South.”

Martin Luther King, Jr. sent this response back to Loverude:

“This is to acknowledge your letter of February 18. Following your suggestion I will use as a subject at the 5:30 discussion group: “What it means to be a Negro in the South.” My subject for the regular evening service will be: “What does it mean to believe in God?”

I am very happy to be able to serve you and your church and I will look forward to this occasion with great anticipation. Please feel free to contact me about any additional information. I would appreciate it very much if you would give me some directions as to getting to the church. I will be driving out.”

Sincerely yours,

Martin L. King Jr.

Correspondence Rev. Otto Lovertude and Martin Luther King, Jr. See: Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers, 1954-1968, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts.

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