John F. “Sandy” Smith of Womble Carlyle became involved with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project at Stanford University in 1990 through Dr. Clay Carson, a Stanford Professor picked by Coretta Scott King to write the definitive multivolume biography of her husband and the Civil Rights Movement.

The purpose of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project is to publish a definitive edition of the most significant writings of the late civil rights leader. Projected to encompass 14 volumes, the final work will include Dr. King’s most important writings including published and unpublished correspondence, speeches and sermons. The project was initiated by the King Center in Atlanta, where Dr. King was based.

Seven of the King Papers volumes have already been published; they are considered essential reference works that have influenced scholarship about Dr. King’s work and legacy. Many of the documents are online at the Stanford University King Institute website. Some directly involve Dr. King, but the collection also includes other historic items including the 1955 arrest record of Rosa Parks, the woman whose refusal to give up her seat on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Rosa Parks’ arrest is often cited as sparking the modern Civil Rights movement.

Smith recently brought Dr. Carson to speak at Womble Carlyle as part of the firm’s Thought Leader Speaker Series, which Smith founded and hosts.

John F. “Sandy” Smith graduated from Stanford University and served on the Board of Trustees. He received his MBA from the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and JD from Duke University School of Law. He lives and works in Atlanta.

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