In his latest round of nominations, President Biden nominated FSI's MLK, Jr. Centennial Professor Emeritus Dr. Clayborne Carson to the Civil Rights Cold Case Review Board.
As noted in the nomination accouncement from the White House, Dr. Carson has devoted most of his professional life to the study of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the movements King inspired. Since receiving his doctorate from UCLA in 1975, Dr. Carson has taught at Stanford University, where he is Martin Luther King, Jr., Centennial Professor of History (Emeritus).
In 1985, the late Coretta Scott King invited Dr. Carson to direct a long-term project to edit and publish the authoritative edition of her late husband’s speeches, sermons, correspondence, publications, and unpublished writings. Under Carson’s direction, the King Papers Project has produced seven volumes of The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. In 2005 Carson founded the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute to endow and expand the educational outreach of the King Papers Project.
Carson is mindful of the unique arc of his academic and personal life. "I grew up in Los Alamos, New Mexico where we were one of only three Black families. What I knew about Black America was mainly what I read in the newspapers. I read about these heroic figures like Martin Luther King Jr., Bob Moses, Diane Nash, and John Lewis, and I wanted to be like them. I went to the March on Washington as a nineteen-year-old and watched and listened to what these leaders were working to accomplish. One of the remarkable things about my life is that I've been able to meet and get to know so many of the people who spoke or performed at the march or were on the speaker's platform at the Lincoln Memorial."
Dr. Carson is currently completing his final year as the director of the King Institute, afterwhich he will continue his research and teaching at Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
As Carson looks towards the future, he's appreciative of the opportunities ahead. "I’m still excited about the idea of exploring little known aspects of African-American history, so that should be good preparation for studying largely forgotten 'cold cases,'" he says.