Established in 2005, the King Institute at Stanford University became the institutional home for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project as well as a broad range of activities related to King’s life, the African American freedom struggle, and other nonviolent struggles for social justice around the world.
The King Institute’s principal mission is to publish The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., a 14-volume edition of King’s most significant correspondence, sermons, published writings, and unpublished manuscripts. In 1985, the King Center's founder and president, Coretta Scott King, invited Stanford University historian Clayborne Carson to become the director and senior editor for the King Papers Project. To document King’s life and times, the Project’s staff assembled copies of thousands of documents from hundreds of archives and private collections.
Building upon the research required for the Papers, the King Project, and later the King Institute, also initiated other related research and educational activities. These include a website, kinginstitute.stanford.edu, that provides an online archive of King-related documents and audiovisual materials; the King Research Fellows Program, which provides research opportunities for students from Stanford and other universities; the Liberation Curriculum, offering online lesson plans for teachers and students; and various public programs, including King holiday commemorations.
The King Institute’s publications include the initial volumes of The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., published through the University of California Press: Volume I: Called to Serve: January 1929–June 1951 (1992); Volume II: Rediscovering Precious Values: July 1951–November 1955 (1994); Volume III: Birth of a New Age: December 1955–December 1956 (1997); Volume IV: Symbol of the Movement: January 1957–December 1958 (2000); Volume V: Threshold of a New Decade: January 1959–December 1960 (2005); Volume VI: Advocate of the Social Gospel: September 1948–March 1963 (2007); and Volume VII: To Save the Soul of America: January 1961–August 1962 (2014).