Established in 2005, the King Institute at Stanford University became the institutional home for the Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project as well as a broad range of activities related to King’s life, the African-American freedom struggle, and other non-violent struggles for social justice around the world.
The King Institute’s principal mission is to publish The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., a fourteen-volume edition of King’s most significant correspondence, sermons, published writings and unpublished manuscripts. In 1985 the King Center's founder and president Coretta Scott King invited Stanford University historian Clayborne Carson to become the Project's director and senior editor. To document King’s life and times, the Institute’s staff assembled copies thousands of documents from hundred of archives and private collections.
Building upon the research required for The Papers, the King Project and later the King Institute also initiated other related research and educational activities. These include a website – www.kinginstitute.info – that provides an online archive of King-related documents and audio-visual materials; the King Research Fellows Program, which provides research opportunities for students from Stanford and other universities; the Liberation Curriculum offering online lesson plans for teachers and students; and various public programs, including King Holiday commemorations.
The Institute’s publications include the initial volumes of its edition of The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. published through the University of California Press: Volume I: Called to Serve: January 1929-1951 (1992); Volume II: Rediscovering Precious Values: July 1951-November 1955 (1994); Volume III: Birth of a New Age: December 1955-December 1956 (1997); Volume IV: Symbol of the Movement: January 1957-December 1958 (2000); Volume V: Threshold of a New Decade: January 1959-December 1960) (2005); and Volume VI: Advocate of the Social Gospel, September 1948-March 1963.