HarperCollins Wins Publishing Rights Martin Luther King Jr’s Books and Speeches

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Sam Pollard’s “MLK/FBI.” IFC Films (Credit: TNS)

The estate of Martin Luther King Jr. has reached a deal to give HarperCollins publishing rights to his books and speeches in an effort to reach a new generation of readers and highlight the civil rights leader’s relevance today.

The King Estate announced Tuesday that an international agreement had been reached with the same publisher that took a chance on King more than 60 years when it published his first book, “Stride Toward Freedom.”

King’s books will be reissued and works will be released based on his life and writing.

The first titles will be published in the United States as early as January to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

“Dr. King’s prophetic message of peace, hope, love and equality continue to impact the world today,” said Eric Tidwell, the manager of the King Estate. “That message is needed now more than ever. We look forward to utilizing HarperCollins’ global footprint to continue the perpetuation of Dr. King’s wonderful legacy through new creative literary projects.”

The financial details of the deal were not disclosed, but it includes world rights to publish from the King archives across all formats, including children’s books, ebooks, audiobooks, journals, and graphic novels in all languages.

As part of the deal, HarperCollins will work with prominent Black scholars, actors, artists, performers and social activists to help bring King’s works to a new audience. That would include an annual reissue of King’s “I Have a Dream” speech from the 1963 March on Washington, with a new introduction each year from a contemporary writer.

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SOURCE: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Ernie Suggs