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Director of MLK Papers Project to speak at NMSU

Clayborne Carson, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University and editor of "The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr.," will be the featured speaker at New Mexico State University's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship Breakfast in January.

Clayborne Carson, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project, will speak at New Mexico State University on Jan. 21, 2005.

nt is scheduled for 7:30 a.m. Friday, Jan. 21, 2005, in the Corbett Center Ballrooms on the main NMSU campus in Las Cruces. Carson's topic will be "Keeping the Dream Alive in the 21st Century."

"We are delighted to bring one of the foremost authorities on Dr. King's life, and on the civil rights movement in general, to Las Cruces for this event," said Troy L. Franklin, director of Black Programs at NMSU.

Carson has taught at Stanford since receiving his doctorate at UCLA in 1975. In 1985, Coretta Scott King, the civil rights leader's widow, invited Carson to direct a long-term project to edit and publish King's papers. "Threshold of a New Decade," Volume Five of a planned 14-volume series, will be published in January by the University of California Press.

From the beginning of his academic career, Carson's books have focused on African-American protest movements and political thought since World War II. His first book, "In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s," a study of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, was published in 1981. His other publications include "Malcolm X: The FBI File," published in 1991.

Carson served as senior adviser for the award-winning 14-part public television series on the civil rights movement, "Eye on the Prize."

Keeping King's legacy vital today will be the theme of Carson's NMSU talk.

"Clearly, if the King legacy is going to thrive in the 21st century it's got to be young people taking it on as their own," Carson said in a 2002 interview published in the online journal Africana. "... The generation who knew King, people like myself who actually saw him speak, we're getting up in age. So it's got to be people who are not trying to engage in nostalgia but really understand the importance of his ideas, the relevance of these ideas, for today's issues."

The annual Martin Luther King Jr. breakfast is a fund-raiser for scholarships and other student support at NMSU. Tickets will be sold in advance and will not be available at the door. For more information call the NMSU Black Programs office at (505) 646-4208.