Beacon Press, a department of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), announced today an exclusive agreement to partner with the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr. in a new publishing program, “The King Legacy,” which will give Beacon the sole right to print new editions of previously published King titles and to compile Dr. King's writings, sermons, orations, lectures, and prayers into entirely new editions, including significant new introductions by leading scholars. This partnership brings together the legacy of one of the most important civil rights and social justice leaders in the world with one of the oldest and most respected independent publishing houses in America.
Helene Atwan, director of Beacon Press said, “We feel enormously privileged to be the new publishers of Dr. King's work. His vision and his message are more essential than ever in a world where, despite great gains, the global aspects of the radical inequities Dr. King devoted his life to exposing and addressing are all too apparent. He has much to teach us, perhaps as much today as in his own lifetime.”
Dexter Scott King, representing the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr. Inc, sent remarks which were read at the public announcement. “We are very happy to join with Beacon Press to announce that the Estate of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Beacon Press will be entering into an historic partnership to publish the words and writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Beacon Press will be a dedicated public outlet for his work, and will help bring his urgently needed teachings of nonviolence and human dignity, and his dream of freedom and equality to a new global audience.”
The Rev. William G. Sinkford, president of the UUA, said, “Now we have the privilege of making more of [Dr. King’s] work available to the general public. It is an honor for us, one that we cherish. The world needs to hear Dr. King’s vision once again. Even in this era of Obama, with all the hope we feel in our hearts, we need his vision of the Beloved Community as a beacon to guide us, to inspire us and to sustain us. The issues of this day may seem distant from the world of 1965, but the reality is that we are far from realizing his dream. ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’ wrote Dr. King. As we confront our nation’s failed immigration policy; as we recognize that it is the poor and the dispossessed who bear the worst brunt of this recession; as we strive to make environmental justice our goal; as we live into a multi-cultural reality; we need his wisdom to guide us.”
With roots that date back to the abolitionist movement, Beacon is uniquely dedicated to publishing books on social justice, human rights, and racial equality. The press has published pioneering books on race and social justice, including James Baldwin’s Notes of a Native Son, Derrick Bell’s Confronting Authority, Cornel West’s Race Matters, Lani Guinier’s Becoming Gentlemen, and Geoffrey Canada’s Fist, Stick Knife, Gun, along with award-winning titles by James Cone, Howard Thurman, Marian Wright Edelman, Robert Moses, and Roger Wilkins.
“The King Legacy” is scheduled to begin with new editions of books published in Dr. King's lifetime that have been unavailable since the 1990s, publishing them on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in 2010, along with a new title, as yet unconfirmed. The first titles to be published will include Stride Toward Freedom, Where Do We Go From Here, and Trumpet of Conscience. After that, the press hopes to publish two to three new works each year, working with a range of renowned scholars to introduce each volume.