Celebrating his life through history, events & service

January 2020

Martin Luther King’s journey to becoming an American hero and icon passed through Delaware County, providing him pivotal experiences that helped shape his idea of non-violent social justice – and contributed to this call to action, made in his legendary “I Have a Dream” speech: “Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania…”

On Monday, January 20th come support HOOPS FROM THE HEART, which since 2001 has raised funds and food donations for the Community Action Agency of Delaware County, the anti-poverty agency helping those in need move towards self-sufficiency.

Haverford’s recreation department will team up with Haverford College to offer a basketball clinic for girls and boys in grades one through eight, starting at 9am. The clinic is $30pp, and will commence at the Gardener Center at Haverford College More Information

Biographical Summary from ExplorePAHistory.com

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. lived In Chester, Delaware County for three years. He was a student at Crozier Theological Seminary located just across from Crozier Chester Hospital from September 14, 1948 to May 8, 1951 when he graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Divinity.

On his arrival at Chester’s Crozer Theological Seminary, he was one of 11 black students. Like King, Reverend J. Pius Barbour, the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church had attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, before studying at Crozer. A family friend for many years, he mentored King who frequently ate at the Barbours’ home and served as a student pastor at his church. King graduated as first in his class and class president in 1951.

Taking advantage of an arrangement with the University of Pennsylvania he audited courses on the philosophy of history, esthetics, and Philosopher Immanuel Kant. From a study of Walter Rauschenbusch’s writings on the Social Gospel, he decided that theology could be used as a basis to alleviate “social evil.”

In 1949, A. J. Muste, the executive director of the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation, gave a lecture at Crozer which “deeply moved” King, but failed to convince him of the “practicability” of pacifism. However, in the spring, he began to take pacifism more seriously after hearing Dr. Mordecai Johnson, the president of Howard University, speak about Mahatma Gandhi at Philadelphia’s Fellowship House, an inter-faith and inter-racial community center with Quaker roots.

Using a fellowship from Crozer, King then enrolled in Boston University, where he completed his doctorate in 1955, and then moved with his new wife Coretta Felt King to Montgomery, Alabama. He led the bus boycott sparked by Rosa Parks, attracting the attention of Philadelphia’s American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) which sent a delegation to Montgomery, and Bayard Rustin, who furthered King’s commitment to non-violence.

King’s legacy is not only a beacon for civil rights, but was the inspiration for our National Day of Service, declared by President Ronald Reagan, when he announced that Dr. Martin Luther King’s Birthday would be observed as a Federal Holiday.

Millions of people will participate in some type of service over Dr. King’s birthday weekend. And many individuals and families will ‘practice’ service throughout the year. Even in the field of Tourism, which generates millions of dollars each year for Delaware County, there are many non-profit attractions, historic sites, and gardens that require the help of volunteers to keep our history, gardens, and museums alive and well.

Below are just a few places that could benefit significantly by your donation of time, skills and interests. Click on each to read more about their volunteer opportunities.

John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, Essington

Brandywine River Museum of Art Conservancy

Stoneleigh Gardens, Villanova

Tyler Arboretum, Media

Delaware County Historical Society, Chester

Colonial Pennsylvania Plantation, Ridley Creek State Park

Community Arts Center, Wallingford

NOTE: The Photo of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr at the top of this page shows him acknowledging the crowd at the Lincoln Memorial for his “I Have a Dream” speech during the March on Washington, D.C. Aug. 28, 1963. Provided by the Delco News Network