Did MLK Preach At Your Church From 1949-1951?

Plaque in Maple Shade NJ.

Over the last 7 years I have been researching Martin Luther King Jr and his time as a Seminary Student at Crozer Theological Seminary School, which was located just outside of Philadelphia in Upland, PA. King attended Crozer from September of 1948 through May of 1951, years that King himself admits had quite an impact on him. Even though King himself wrote in his 1957 book, Stride Toward Freedom, that it was “Not until 1948, when I entered Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, did I begin a serious intellectual quest for a method to eliminate social evil.”, yet this is a period in his life that most scholars have overlooked. While doing my research I created a timeline of all of the places that MLK preached as a young Seminarian, many of them having no idea that the world’s most iconic civil rights leader ever stepped foot in their buildings, let alone preached from their pulpits, but now they will.

As my contribution on this final day of Black History month, I freely offer my research so people can celebrate the locations in the area that helped shape Dr. King. Below is a timeline with all of the places I have Identified where Martin Luther King was set to speak in the Philadelphia area while he was a Seminary student.

  1. On February 23rd of 1949, Rev. King was a speaker at the fourth meeting of the Saturday Night Frolic Club’s Teen Talk.  The meeting was held at the West Branch YMCA,  7th & Edgmont ave.
  2. On February 27th, 1949 9 a.m. Rev. King was again at the West Branch YMCA where he was a part of a radio program on WPWA called “Sunday Meditations” 7th & Edgmont ave.
  3. On February 27th, 1949 at 7:45 p.m. Rev. King was the speaker at a special Fellowship service that was held at Prospect HIll Baptist Church.  The announcement reads “to attend which all residents of community regardless of race, creed or color are invited”.  703 Lincoln Avenue Prospect Park, PA 19076
  4. On March 9th, 1949 Rev. King was at the Calvary Baptist Church  where he was the speaker as a part of “Missionary Group No. 3”. 1612 West Second Street Chester, PA.
  5. On April 13th, 1949 Rev. King is at the West Branch YMCA giving a sermon on “My God.  My God, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?” 7th & Edgmont ave.
  6. On April 15th, 1949 Rev. King was a part of the devotional service at Murphy AME Church. 700 Yarnall St. Chester, PA 19013
  7. On October 29th, 1949 10:30 a.m. Rev. King was a speaker at a youth rally which located at the Grace Methodist Church 1213 Central Ave. Chester, PA 19013
  8. On November 13th, 1949 at 11 a.m. Rev. King gave a sermon at Young People’s Day at the Siloam Methodist Church, on 12th and Upland Streets.  
  9. Jan 15th, 1950 2:45 pm Rev. King delivered a sermon the the young people at Fifth Presbyterian Church at 3rd and Tilghman St. Chester, PA 19013
  10. On March 5th, 1950 at 8 p.m. Rev. King was a speaker at the Fifth Presbyterian Church for Men’s day. 3rd and Tilghman St. Chester, PA 19013
  11. On March 8th, 1950 Rev, King was a speaker at Calvary Baptist Second and Baker
  12. On May 3rd, 1950 Rev. King spoke in Newark Delaware at the local NAACP Chapter meeting.  Exact location still unknown.
  13. On Nov 12th, 1950 at 3:30 p.m. Rev. King delivered a sermon to the Fifth Presbyterian Church at 3rd and Tilghman St. Chester, PA 19013
  14. January 14th, 1951 2:20 pm: Courier Post clipping showing Dr. King gave a sermon at Zion Baptist Church in Camden, NJ.  (Courier Post)
  15. On Feb 25th, 1951 at 11 a.m. Rev. King was a speaker at the Fifth Presbyterian Church at 3rd and Tilghman St. Chester, PA 19013 
  16. On March 11th, 1951 at 3 p.m. Rev. King gave a sermon to the Calvary Baptist Church on 1612 West Second Street Chester, PA. 19013

17. On April 14th, 1951 at 8 p.m. Rev. King was a speaker at St. Daniels Methodist Church at 315 Edwards St. Chester, PA 19013

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