An all-male African American college, whose graduates include the famous civil rights leader, Dr Martin Luther King, will offer its first LGBT course this spring.

The newest class at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, is called “A Genealogy of Black LGBT Culture and Politics.”

Dr Jafari Sinclaire Allen, a Morehouse almuni and Lambda Literary Award finalist, will teach the course via video conference.

Morehouse student Marcus Lee wrote to Dr Allen to tell him, the course “means relief; it means stepping away from a culture of silence and stoicism, and toward one of candour and understanding.”

The decision comes a decade after a student perceived to be gay was beaten with a baseball bat, and three years after school officials banned “clothing associated with women’s garb.”

Dr King graduated from Morehouse College in 1948.

In 2004, Dr King’s late widow, Coretta Scott King, said same-sex marriage was a civil rights issue and that gay couples needed legal protection.

“Gay and lesbian people have families, and their families should have legal protection, whether by marriage or civil union,” she said.

Dr King’s anti-gay niece, Alvada Scott King, has repeatedly stated that the civil rights leader would never have supported the campaign for gay rights, however, up until her death, Coretta Scott King claimed otherwise.

In October last year, research by Gallup and the Williams Institute showed the size of America’s LGBT black community was larger than previously though.

According to the survey, 4.6% of African Americans were LGBT, compared to 3.2% of Caucasians.