Marcus Goodie Goodloe grew up in South Central Los Angeles in Compton. While he took to athletics in his early days, he became enamored by Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy and leadership.
He played football in New Mexico then moved to California, studied at Dallas Baptist University, Oxford, and went to seminary school in San Francisco.
Goodie Goodloe, Meet Dr. King
As Goodloe studied Dr. King’s life, “I remember being enamored by his speeches. You could order his speeches on cassette tapes, which is something I did. I remember listening to those speeches on a little Sony Walkman cassette player and was just amazed. I felt like I knew this man.”
Later on in Goodloe’s life, he became a spiritual advisor and leader to initially help influence people who were in athletics. Then when he moved back to Los Angeles, he began to work with people involved in the entertainment industry.
“They are not immune from challenges, whether that’s issues related to their spirituality and faith or issues related to social justice, dysfunctional relationships, whatever it may be. They are like me and you.”
Goodloe discovered that over 50 years ago, Martin Luther King was a pastor to these people of influence. He cites a saying by Harry Belafonte: Artists are the gatekeepers. Dr. King recognized this and enlisted, recruited them, admonished them, challenged them, and pastored them to get involved in the civil rights movement. He encouraged them to lend their voices, money, time, and help advance the civil rights movement.
For Goodloe, he liked to see it when athletes and entertainers use their platforms for good.
“Dr. King said, just because you are a person of influence, have money and resources, it doesn’t absolve you from being involved in the struggle. And so he called them to a greater purpose than hitting a ball, running fast, jumping high, or singing on a stage.”
What is a Martin Luther King Jr Scholar?
Most MLK scholars are in a specific lane. Goodloe says to imagine a bowling alley. There are other lanes and there is your lane. When you bowl, the ball stays in your lane. It doesn’t stray to other lanes.
“My lane is very specific. PhD work, postgraduate work is in King’s leadership with athletes and entertainers during the civil rights movement. So it’s very specific. I wouldn’t consider myself someone who was fully aware of all the ins and outs of King’s life, but only as it relates to the area of leading and influencing entertainers and athletes through the window of the civil rights movement.”
From 1955 to 1968, the year of Dr. King’s demise, the Montgomery bus boycott, etc., that is the area Goodloe focuses on. He examined how he interacted and engaged these two unique groups of individuals. He also qualified what entertainers and athletes were. Then he prepared a historical analysis, like most scholars. He went to primary sources, held documents, read speeches, and looked at receipts.
Part of Goodloe’s research involved looking at copies of ledgers and notes, as it related to Dr. King’s interactions and workings with athletes and entertainers during the civil rights movement. He learned what Dr. King called them to do. Goodloe then wrote the book King Maker, based on his findings.