Initiated by The King Center in Atlanta, the King Papers Project is one of only a few large-scale research ventures focusing on an African American. In 1985 the King Center's founder and president Coretta Scott King invited Stanford University historian Clayborne Carson to become the Project's director. As a result of Dr. Carson's selection, the Project became a cooperative venture of Stanford University, the King Center, and the King Estate. It is now a component of Stanford's King Research and Education Institute.
Mission of the Papers Project
The King Papers Project's principal mission is to publish a definitive fourteen-volume edition of The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.,a comprehensive collection of King's most significant correspondence, sermons, speeches, published writings, and unpublished manuscripts. The seven already published volumes have become essential reference works for researchers and have influenced scholarship about King and the movements he inspired. Building upon this research foundation, the Project also engages in other related educational activities. Using internet communications technology to reach a diverse global audience, it has greatly increased popular as well as scholarly awareness of King's achievements and visionary ideas.
Funding the Papers Project
In addition to core funding from Stanford University, the King Papers Project receives financial support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and individual donors. As a component of Stanford's Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, the Project also benefits from the Institute's endowment.