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Clayborne Carson


  • Originally published 08/21/2013

    Stanford professor Clayborne Carson reflects on March on Washington

    BERKELEY -- Clayborne Carson was 19 when he ignored warnings about the dangers and propensity for violence before hitching a ride with the Indianapolis NAACP to attend the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom 50 years ago this month.The threats didn't deter him from becoming a part of the largest political rally for civil rights in U.S. history and witnessing Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I have a Dream" speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial."I decided that I was going to go, and I wasn't going to tell my parents," Carson said. "They found out later."Two decades later, Carson would receive an unexpected phone call from Coretta Scott King asking him to serve as the editor of the King's Papers project....

  • Originally published 06/25/2013

    Eric Foner: VRA Decision "Green Light" to Disenfranchise Voters

    Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act as Martin Luther King, Jr. looks on. Credit: Wiki Commons.The Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, has struck down the critical Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, the landmark 1965 legislation that banned discriminatory practices in federal, state, and local election laws.The Voting Rights Act was formulated to target areas with a history of poll tests and historically low registration and turnout for federal oversight. Jurisdictions that fall under the Act's authority are required to pre-clear changes in local election laws with the federal government,Section 4 determined the mechanism of determining the target areas; Section 5 of the Act, which provides for the actual pre-clearance requirement itself, was not ruled upon by the Court.In his majority opinion Chief Justice John Roberts wrote“today the nation is no longer divided along those lines, yet the Voting Rights Act continues to treat it as if it were.”

  • Originally published 01/22/2013

    Clayborne Carson: Interview with Stanford

    Stanford historian Clayborne Carson has been researching and documenting the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. for nearly three decades.From Carson's trip to Washington, D.C., in 1963 to hear King give his famous "I Have a Dream" speech to his personal relationships with members of the King family, Carson's involvement with the American civil rights movement has been much more than an academic pursuit.In 1985, Coretta Scott King asked Carson to edit and publish her late husband's papers. Carson subsequently founded the King Papers Project, which is producing the definitive record of King's writings, from speeches and sermons to personal correspondence and unpublished manuscripts.Drawing from his personal journals and records, Carson offers a personal and candid account of his evolution from political activist into a self-described "activist scholar" in his new book Martin's Dream.In a conversation with Corrie Goldman of the Stanford Humanities Center, Carson talked about the book and his experiences.

  • Originally published 01/21/2013

    Understanding the Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King in 1964.In 1985, Dr. Clayborne Carson, a professor of history at Stanford University, received a phone call that changed his life. Coretta Scott King called and asked if he would edit the papers of her late husband, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. Carson was initially reluctant, but eventually agreed to take on the monumental task. He has been studying the life of this American icon ever since. Under Dr. Carson’s direction, the King Papers Project has issued six volumes of The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., -- a projected fourteen-volume edition of King’s most significant speeches, sermons, correspondence, publications, and unpublished writings.

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