King Biographer, Scholar to Speak at Law School

January 11, 2011

Clayborne Carson, editor of "The Autobiography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.," will speak Jan. 17 at 4 p.m. in the University of Virginia School of Law's Caplin Pavilion.

Clayborne Carson

His lecture, "Celebrating the Life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.," is part of UVA's observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The lecture is open to the public, and parking is available in the Law School's D-2 lots after 3:30 p.m.

Carson, a professor of history at Stanford University and founding director of its Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, has devoted his professional life to the study of King and the movements he inspired.

As an undergraduate, Carson participated in civil rights and antiwar protests, and many of his subsequent writings reflect his experiences by stressing the importance of grassroots political activity within the African-American freedom struggle. His first book, In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s," remains the definitive history of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Published in 1981, it won the Organization of American Historians' Frederick Jackson Turner Award. Carson also wrote Malcolm X: The FBI File" and is co-author of African American Lives: The Struggle for Freedom," a comprehensive survey of African-American history.

Carson served as senior adviser for a 14-part award-winning public television series on the Civil Rights Movement, "Eyes on the Prize," and co-edited the Eyes on the Prize Civil Rights Reader." In addition, he served as historical adviser for Freedom on My Mind," which was nominated for an Oscar in 1995, as well as for "Chicano!," "Blacks and Jews," "Citizen King," "Negroes with Guns: Rob Williams and Black Power" and "Have You Heard from Johannesburg?," a multipart documentary about the international campaign against apartheid in South Africa.

In 1985 the late Coretta Scott King, founder of the King Center in Atlanta, invited Carson to direct a long-term project to edit and publish the papers of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. This project is being conducted under the auspices of the King Institute at Stanford in association with the King Center and the King estate.

Under Carson's direction, the King Papers Project has produced six volumes of "The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr." — a projected 14-volume comprehensive edition of King's speeches, sermons, correspondence, publications and unpublished writings.

Carson also collaborated with the Roma Design Group of San Francisco to create the winning proposal in an international competition to design the national King memorial now being completed in Washington, D. C., and he has served as an adviser to the King National Memorial Foundation.

Until the end of 2009, he served as Martin Luther King, Jr. Distinguished Professor at Morehouse College in Atlanta and as executive director of that institution's King Collection.

The event is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race and Law and the University of Virginia President's Office.

Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.

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