Dr. Carson on the Legacy of MLK Jr.

Women and men sitting. (Embassy Image)
A participant poses a question to Dr. Carson during a lecture series at the University of the West Indies, Mona

The U.S. Embassy hosted Dr. Clayborne Carson, Professor of History at Stanford University and Director of the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Research and Education Institute, on March 16-20, 2015, for a series of forums and talks on full and equal citizenship for all Jamaicans and the advancement of responsible and democratic governance.

Dr. Carson led four public forums at separate locations in Kingston and Montego Bay and facilitated discussion on a plethora of issues, including grass roots activism, citizen engagement to facilitate social change and the media’s role in advancing social justice.  As Director of the MLK Research and Education Institute, Dr. Carson shared Dr. King’s rich history and movement through challenge, opposition and difficulty. He asserted that Dr. King often referred to the ‘The Gospel’ as ‘The Social Gospel’ and believed that a just society is one that treats all people as equal. In applying the strides of the Civil Rights movement to the modern day, Dr. King said that the victories of the 1960s were limited victories which have only formed a basis for the 21st Century.

Three men sitting and talking. (Embassy Image)
From left: Garfield Burford, news editor – CVM TV, Milton Walker, exe.news editor – Television Jamaica and Dr. Clayborne Carson

Clayborne Carson has devoted his professional life to the study of Martin Luther King Jr. and the movements King inspired. Dr. Carson received his doctorate from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1975.  In 1985, the late Coretta Scott King invited Dr. Carson to direct a long-term project to edit and publish the papers of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  In 2005, Carson founded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute to endow and expand the work of the Kings Papers Project.  Under Carson’s projected fourteen-volume comprehensive edition of King’s most significant speeches, sermons, correspondence, publications, and unpublished writings.

Dr. Carson has lectured throughout the United States. His topics have included King, SNCC, Malcolm X, the Black Panther Party, Black-Jewish relations, and affirmative action.

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