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King Papers Go to College Instead of Auction

Morehouse College in Atlanta is looking for a site to house the private collection of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. following a deal that will prevent the papers from being auctioned off. The deal was announced late Friday.

Under the deal, Morehouse -- King's alma mater -- will own the collection. But the thousands of historic papers and manuscripts might not be housed on the school's campus. Morehouse said it is working to arrange temporary housing and to find a permanent location in Atlanta where the papers will be available for public access.

A private coalition of business and civic leaders bought the collection from the King family following concerted efforts by Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin and former Mayor Andrew Young.

Terms of the deal are being kept under wraps, but Sotheby's had said the auction set for June 30 could fetch up to $30 million.

The collection includes items ranging from canceled checks, to a term paper he wrote as a student at Morehouse, to a draft of his most famous speech, "I Have a Dream," delivered at the 1963 March on Washington.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Joshua Levs