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Lowell Stories : Black History

Martin Luther King, Jr. visits Lowell


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


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

King was invited to visit Lowell on April 12, 1953, by Rev. Otto R. Loverude, (1900-1973), the minister of First United Baptist Church, Church Street, Lowell. King, who was then a student in the doctoral program at Boston University, came to the church to present a program.

In a letter of invitation addressed to King, 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."

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

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