The King Collection

About the Collection


Cover Story About the Collection
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Collection History
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Morehouse College acquired the Collection, in 2006, when Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and other civic and corporate leaders assembled a multi-million dollar deal to keep the coveted collection from being auctioned by Sotheby's in New York City. Fulfilling one of Coretta Scott King's early visions—to bring Dr. King's papers home to Morehouse College, King's alma mater—the collection has been the focal point for worldwide attention since its arrival on September 14, 2006 when it was first processed and organized by the archival staff of the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center.

The first and only public exhibition of the Collection was held January 15-May 13, 2007 at the Atlanta History Center. "I Have a Dream: The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection" exhibited over 600 works, including drafts of the "I Have a Dream" speech, King's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, and sermons from his ministry and personal notes. Also during this time, Morehouse and the King Family Estate collaborated with CNN in producing a five-part, primetime series "MLK Papers: Words That Changed a Nation," with Soledad O'Brien featuring interviews with Representative John Lewis (D-Ga.), activist Dorothy Cotton and Andrew Young.

Archival Collaborations
A collaborative partnership among repositories of King's papers has been established that includes the Howard Gotlieb Archival Center at Boston University, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University and the Morehouse King Collection. Working closely together, these three academic institutions formed the MLK Jr. Archival Collaborative, in 2007, to coordinate efforts to preserve King historical materials. The work of the collaborative allows researchers to benefit from scholarly developments associated with the King Papers Project at Stanford, and to access digital finding aids indexing all three collections.

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Archive at Boston University includes more than 80,000 items, primarily consisting of King's office files, manuscripts, awards and extensive correspondence from 1955-1961. Stanford University's King Papers Project under the direction of Dr. Clayborne Carson is a major research effort to publish a definitive 14-volume edition of King's most significant correspondence, sermons, speeches, published writings, and unpublished manuscripts.

Collection Highlights