Book of Martin Luther King Jr.'s sermons now available

January 12, 2007

A new volume from the King Papers Project presents the never-before-published sermon file of Martin Luther King Jr., and its editors include a University of Kentucky faculty member and one of his former graduate students. Gerald Smith, an associate professor in the UK College of Arts and Sciences Department of History, and Troy Jackson, who received his doctorate from UK, worked with other scholars to bring to light the words of Martin Luther King Jr. as discovered while examining his private papers.

In 1997 Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King Jr., granted the King Papers Project permission to sort through boxes of documents in her home. In a cardboard box in the basement were found more than two hundred folders, containing writings King used to prepare his sermons. These handwritten documents from King's private collection, kept by him in his study, reveal concerns about poverty, human rights and social justice. His writings chart his life journey through his years as a seminary student, then pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, then a leader of the Montgomery bus boycott, and ultimately, as a human rights activist who continued to think of himself primarily as a preacher and "advocate of the social gospel."

Smith and Jackson worked with fellow volume editors Susan Carson and Susan Englander, and series editor Clayborne Carson. Both Smith and Jackson are also pastors.

University of Kentucky

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