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World-Renowned Scholar Gives Insight into MLK’s Legacy

Clayborne Carson, the world-renowned and acclaimed Martin Luther King Jr. scholar and director of the King Papers Project, speaks at Westmont’s Mosher Center for Moral and Ethical Leadership luncheon on Friday, Nov. 4, from 12-1:30 p.m. in the Simmons Center of Westmont’s Global Leadership Center. Carson will present “The Lives and Shared Legacy of Coretta Scott and Martin Luther King Jr.” A limited number of tickets, which cost $50 per person, are available for purchase at For more information, please call (805) 565-7251 or email

Dr. Clayborne Carson

“Nobody knows the words and writings of Dr. King better than Dr. Carson,” says President Gayle D. Beebe. “His inspirational work has deepened the nation’s appreciation for King’s profound insights, prolific pastoral voice, courageous personal sacrifices and wisdom. I’ve always deeply appreciated his transformative work, the life-changing leadership he modeled, and his writings and teachings. We’re honored to bring Dr. Carson to campus and hear his unique perspective on our country’s most prominent civil rights leader. We look forward to sitting in a front-row seat to learn from him.”

Dr. King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, handpicked Carson in 1985 to help our country carry out King’s legacy. A professor emeritus of history at Stanford University, Carson has directed the King Research and Education Institute, a cooperative venture of Stanford, the King Center, and the King Estate to publish the definitive 14-volume edition of “The Papers of Martin Luther King Jr.,” a collection of his most significant correspondence, sermons, speeches, published writings and unpublished manuscripts.

Clayborne Carson and Coretta Scott King at Stanford
Clayborne Carson and Coretta Scott King

The seven volumes already published have become essential reference works for researchers, influencing scholarship about King and the movements he inspired that eventually cost him his life and transformed our nation. Carson and his staff have spent more than two decades working to edit and publish these works, intending to make King’s documents and important revelations more widely available to researchers and casual readers alike.

For 40 years, Carson has served as a professor at Stanford, primarily teaching U.S history and African American history. He has taught and lectured in Britain, France, China, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, and throughout the United States. As a renowned speaker, author and scholar, he has appeared on numerous programs, including NPR's Fresh Air, the Charlie Rose Show, Good Morning America, and the CBS Evening News. Carson serves on the global council of the California International Law Center at the University of California, Davis School of Law.

Autobiography of MLK

>He has written several books and articles about the civil rights movement and contributed to numerous documentaries. His first book, “In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s,” received the Frederick Jackson Turner Award in 1982. He has also authored “The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.” (2001), “A Call to Conscience” (2002) and “Martin’s Dream” (2013). Carson served as the historical adviser for the film “Freedom on My Mind,” nominated for an Academy Award in 1995.

The Mosher Center for Moral and Ethical Leadership, established by a gift from the Mosher Foundation, falls under Westmont’s new Global Leadership Center, which opened in fall 2017 under President Beebe’s leadership. Ed Birch, president and CEO of the Mosher Foundation, and his wife, Sue Birch, education program specialist with the foundation, helped develop the Mosher Center, which offers national conversations on the critical need for moral and ethical leadership, regional executive education and undergraduate leadership development.

Past speakers include: Geoffrey Moore, Bob Woodward, Jon Meacham, David Gergen, Guy Kawasaki, Daniel Kahneman, Charles Duhigg, Jack Rakove and Ronald C. White.