An archive of civil rights history that includes audio recordings of Martin Luther King, Jr. are now available to the public through the library.
The collection of 918 boxes from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference includes administrative files with correspondence, reports, memos, notebooks and meeting minutes, as well as photographs, flyers, and audio and video recordings from 1968 to 2007.
Emory University's Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library purchased the records in 2008, and archivists began processing the collection in 2009.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference was founded in Atlanta in 1957 by a group of civil rights leaders from across the Southeast that included Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph David Abernathy and Joseph E. Lowery, each of whom also served as president. The organization continues to operate today.
One of the most compelling parts of the archive is the collection of transcripts audio recordings, and other materials for the radio show "Martin Luther King Speaks," which aired from 1967 to 1979.
The show aired speeches and interviews with prominent members of the civil rights movement, as well as with women's rights activists, anti-war activists, and other significant cultural figures.
"We have the edited transcripts of the programs, as well as complete unedited interviews and speeches, plus audio recordings of the programs," Sarah Quigley, the project's archivist, said in a statement. "Researchers can see all through the editing process how the show was made, and what sorts of topics were being discussed. It's a really rich portion of the collection that people haven't had access to."
An exhibition based on the archive is tentatively scheduled for spring 2013.
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