On Monday, Jan. 16, 2012 the King Center - the keeper of the
flame for the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - launched its
digital archives, in partnership with JPMorgan
Chase's Technology for Social Good. The project took nine
months to complete. For the remainder of the week,
ChicagoParent.com will be trolling the site and giving you a daily
taste of some of the offerings. This is day one.
Almost a million pieces of material - from notecards he created
in school to correspondence to speeches and sermons - has been
preserved in digital format. This is not simply typing words into a
word processor. This is using the actual piece of paper and
The result is visually stunning. The default view is put
together like a collage, with yellowed bits of paper that are part
of the archive. Hover over a piece of a hand-written or typed note,
and a pop-up will give you an abstract on what the piece is
For those who are put off by the mess of the collage style, you
can swith to a list version.
If you're searching for a particular thing, the handy-dandy
themes are there to guide you. Twenty-one different themes range
from Dr. King's economic philosophy, to his scholarship to letters
from children to quotes - which then link you directly to the
source document. This is a treasure trove for students of any age
writing about King - or even studying the concept of epistemology. Much of the archives are devoted
to papers that indicate where King came from, and point to where he
In addition to themes, you can filter down even more by type of
content. Or you can simply search for a term you're looking
For those non-techies, you should know that when you're reading
the document, you can't mouse down. You have to click with the hand
that hovers over the document and "push" the image any way you want
it to go. You can also zoom in or zoom out. Many of the documents
are hard to read, so zooming in and then manually moving it around
is sometimes necessary.
Check out this link to an editorial King wrote in the
Baltimore Sun opposing the Vietnam War. His reasoning is that the
money spent on war took away from the money and focus that could be
spent on eradicating poverty. Note that the paper is torn, and at
some point something was spilled on the bottom. This is an
excellent example of how the original document was preserved in
Tomorrow we'll explore some of the letters Dr. King received
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