Monday, November 19, 2007

Martin Luther King archives will be available digitally

Click on the title to this post for some great news, for a change. The link will take you to Boston University's press release about a grant they are receiving.

...the Martin Luther King, Jr., collection at Boston University’s Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center — more than 83,000 letters, manuscripts, speeches, and photographs belonging to the late civil rights leader ...

The Gotlieb Center has entered into a partnership with the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center Consortium and the Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University to create a joint online catalogue of their respective King holdings. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is funding the effort, the first-ever comprehensive inventory of multiple archives for one public figure, and has given the Gotlieb Center more than $600,000 for the project.

The King collection dates from 1955 to 1961 and consists of letters, clippings, itineraries, and meeting minutes. There is extensive material on the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the Montgomery Improvement Association and letters from prominent figures of the time, among them Bayard Rustin, Malcolm X, Adam Clayton Powell, Medgar Evers, Roy Wilkins, Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, William Sloane Coffin, Allan Knight Chalmers, Sidney Poitier, Jackie Robinson, A. Philip Randolph, Harry Belafonte, Ralph Abernathy, and Coretta Scott King.

The archive also features material used in King’s doctoral dissertation, including his class notes and research material, and a piece titled “Autobiography of My Religious Development.” Draft manuscripts of King’s books Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story and Why We Can’t Wait, which includes his famous Letter from a Birmingham Jail, are part of the collection as well.
In order to catalog the material, the center is closing to the public as of last November 1 for two years. But the digital archive will be keyword searchable, tagged with the same controlled vocabulary at all locations, making searching much easier for King scholars and the public alike.

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