What happened was in 2006 King's library was sold at an auction to Morehouse College in Atlanta. During the auction some of his books were displayed, one of which was Emerson's A Modern Anthology. Edward R. Bosley (a director of a National Historic Landmark) was at the auction and he found this written on the front page:
Swedenborg enables us to understand why we were created, why we are alive, and what happens to us after our bodies die. Swedenborg enables us to have the best possible understanding of God’s message as it exists in those Bible books which constitutes God’s Word.Bosley assumed that this was written by King and told others and the news spread. However, in February Rev. Ray Silverman, chaplain of Bryn Athyn College, contacted the people working with the collection and received this response from Courtney Chartier, the Processing Archivist:
Dr. King’s volume of Emerson does have extensive notes on Swedenborg. However, the handwriting is not his. There is an inscription that reads “Rev Wm Fairfax (colored) Swedenborgian minster”, with an address in New York. He is the likely author of the notes.So that's the news. It's disappointing but it's good to have the facts straight. I suppose that there's a chance that as they analyze the collection more they'll find other things to connect King and Swedenborg but for now we can't say that Martin Luther King Jr. was inspired by Swedenborg. ---
Thanks to Jim Lawrence we now have a picture of Rev. William Fairfax and his wife, taken at the 1959 General Convention. Jim also did a little more research about him and found this much out:
William E. Fairfax was ordained by Convention in 1937 and he served until his death in 1964. His church was in Harlem. .... Basically, what we know is that he probably identified in important ways with MLK, and thought he might interest MLK in his favorite theologian as a fellow "colored" Christian minister in the U.S.I also asked Jim where someone should start if they were interested in doing more research about Rev. Fairfax. He said, "Someone wanting to dig further on Fairfax would probably best start in our own collection here in Berkeley and the archives in Boston associated with our headquarters, which keeps a lot of records on the various societies past and present."