Good News out of Atlanta!
ATLANTA (AP) – A collection of Martin Luther King Jr.'s papers, manuscripts and books that was set for auction next week will instead be given to his alma mater, officials said.
A group of Atlanta businesses, individuals and philanthropic leaders bought the lot of more than 10,000 items from the King family for an undisclosed amount, Morehouse College President Walter Massey said Friday.
The civil rights leader's handwritten documents and books were expected to sell for $15 million to $30 million at Sotheby's auction house in New York on June 30. Massey said the Atlanta coalition offered more than that.
He said the historically black college near downtown Atlanta would acquire the collection, which historians have called one of the greatest American archives of the 20th century in private hands.
"It really didn't belong anywhere else," said Andrew Young, a lieutenant of King's during the civil rights movement, who became overcome with emotion when discussing the deal Friday night.
The papers span from 1946 to 1968, the year King was assassinated. They include 7,000 handwritten items, including his early Alabama sermons, a draft of his "I Have a Dream" speech, which he delivered Aug. 28, 1963, at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and his acceptance address when he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.
Atlanta is King's birthplace and where his wife, Coretta Scott King, raised their four children after his death. It also is where she founded the King Center for Nonviolent Social Change and where King and his wife are entombed.