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The people of MLK's sermons, in one graphic

Martin Luther King Jr. often used characters in his sermons.

Given that he was a Baptist preacher, they were usually biblical figures, like the 12 apostles, Moses, and Lazarus. But he also drew from a wide array of innovative thinkers, both ancient and contemporary.

He cited Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle.

He explored Hamlet and Macbeth and Rip Van Winkle.

He quoted poets with three names — Henry David Thoreau, William Cullen Bryant, James Russell Lowell.

But most frequently, he spoke of politicians and activists — often his friends, sometimes his heroes, and even his enemies.

I looked through 13 well-known King sermons, which admittedly is not comprehensive. But the sermons span from 1953 when he was a guest preacher at his uncle's Second Baptist Church in Detroit to a handful in 1968, right before his assassination. I think these 82 people give a decent of idea of the people he included as characters in his sermons.