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Morehouse College Benefits from Purchase of the King Papers on Behalf of the City of Atlanta

Private Coalition bans together to bring the papers back to King’s birth city.

ATLANTA-June 23, 2006— Late tonight, the City of Atlanta announced that a deal has been struck to bring the coveted Martin Luther King Jr. Collection back to Atlanta. The papers were scheduled to be auctioned at Sotheby’s on June 30.

The city says the transaction, of an undisclosed amount, was made possible through the unprecedented response of Atlanta business and civic leaders and other private parties. Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin said that the coalition paid a fair price for the priceless collection.

Martin Luther King Jr. was a 1948 graduate of Morehouse College. He entered Morehouse as an early admission student at the age of 15. Dr. Walter E. Massey, president of Morehouse College, said that Morehouse is where the papers should be.

“Morehouse is honored to be the recipient of this historic collection of King’s papers,” said Massey. “Given the important role Morehouse played in Dr. King’s intellectual, spiritual and moral development, we believe there simply is no better place for these papers to reside. We are grateful to the King family for their confidence in Morehouse to serve as the repository for this legacy, which reflects the best thinking of our nation’s most outstanding leader, and of Morehouse College’s most outstanding alumnus.


Morehouse is also grateful for the support of the coalition of Atlantans – led by Mayor Shirley Franklin – without whom Morehouse’s acquisition of these papers would not have been possible. Mayor Franklin’s leadership, and the efforts and contributions of dozens of individuals and corporations, reflect the spirit of this great city, where we believe, and where we act on the belief, that anything is possible.

Although Martin Luther King Jr. was a son of Morehouse, we recognize that he was a citizen of the world. We, therefore, are committed to ensuring that this collection of Dr. King’s work is available to scholars, researchers and others who are interested in learning more about his evolution as a man and as a leader. Morehouse has engaged Dr. William Potter, University of Georgia Librarian, and Dr. Loretta Parham, director of the Robert W. Woodruff Library, to assist us in processing the collection and arranging for its temporary housing until we identify a permanent location in Atlanta where the papers will be available for public access.

Through our stewardship of the Collection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Morehouse is proud to continue to advance the ideals of scholarship, leadership and service to which the College is committed, and for which Dr. King was known.”

Ranked three times as the number one college in the nation for educating African American students by Black Enterprise magazine, and recognized by The Wall Street Journal as one of the top feeder schools for the 15 most prominent graduate and professional schools in the country, Morehouse College is the nation’s largest, private liberal arts college for men.

Prominent alumni include Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize laureate and civil rights leader; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General and director of the National Center for Primary Care at the Morehouse School of Medicine; Shelton “Spike” Lee, filmmaker and president of 40 Acres & A Mule Productions; Samuel L. Jackson, Academy Award nominated actor; Maynard H. Jackson, founder of Jackson Securities and the first African-American mayor of Atlanta; and Nima A. Warfield, the first African-American Rhodes Scholar from a HBCU.

Posted by Kara at June 24, 2006 04:45 AM

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