The impact that the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) had on society is manifest especially when it came to his legacy in regard to the Civil Rights movement. The individuals, writings, and imagery that captured his life and impact is extensive. However, it is also noteworthy to reference and reflect upon those who influenced his own philosophy and teachings.
Among the more famous individuals that Doctor King has cited include Indian lawyer and ethician Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi (1869-1948) and his embrace of nonviolent resistance to unjust laws along with the political writings of American statesman, Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826) found in his pronouncements on “liberty,” “democracy,” and “equal rights” in particular.
In addition to notable secular figures, another individual cited as part of the early education is the prophet Moses (1391-1271 BC) who was seen as a living symbol connected to the law of God. In American historical annals, when it came to slavery such figures and role models as Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Tubman each became a latter-day Moses in leading their people to a promised land of freedom and grace. Ironically, Doctor King would not only quote Moses on a regular basis within his sermons, but he was equated by many of his adherents as another Moses for his efforts to achieve freedom and equality within American society. More on the relationship between Doctor King and Moses can be found within the Stanford Freedom Project site accessible via the following link – https://stanfordfreedomproject.com/multi-media-essays-on-freedom/the-biblical-exodus-in-the-rhetoric-of-martin-luther-king/
Connections to Doctor King, Moses, and/or Seton Hall have been made within the Archives & Special Collections Center. Along with records relating to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship Program (MLKSA) is the oldest and most prestigious Servant Leadership Program on campus and one of the first in the United States having been founded in 1970. This initiative deals with tuition funding, management, leadership skills development, and research opportunities covering social justice, spirituality, critical thinking, and community service.
In regard to Moses, various theological-centered volumes are found in the Rare Book Collection including a 1752 edition of a text entitled:
The History of the Heavens : Considered According to the Notions of the Poets and Philosophers, Compared with the Doctrines of Moses. Being an Inquiry into the Origine of Idolatry, and the Mistakes of Philosophers, Upon the Formation and Influence of the Celestial Bodies, 2 vols. (London: J. Wren, 1752) by Noël Antoine Pluche (1688-1761) and translated from the French by John Baptist De Freval. The catalog entry for this work can be found under the LC Code – BL305 .P68 1752.
For more information on Doctor King, Moses, and other figures of note that are connected to the history and academic curriculum of Seton Hall University please contact us for information. E-Mail: Archives@shu.edu, Phone: (973) 275-2378.