HarperCollins Publishers—which is the world’s second-biggest consumer book publisher— reached a deal to become the official publisher of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s archives.
Per a press release issued by the publisher, “world rights to publish from the archives of Dr. King across all formats,’ include ebooks, audiobooks, journals, and graphic novels. The negotiated agreement included an agent and manager of King’s estate, in addition to Judith Curr, who is the president and publisher of HarperOne Group. To compliment the timing of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the initial titles are scheduled for U.S. publishing in January of 2022.
“We are thrilled to be the official publisher of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s archives,” Curr said. “We view this as a unique global publishing program, leveraging the company’s collective creative efforts to develop region-specific yet universally appealing publications that illustrate how extensive and inclusive Dr. King’s work is. We see this as an opportunity to further solidify Dr. King’s legacy as one of the world’s essential figures in the fight for justice and equality.”
— HarperCollins 🌈 (@HarperCollins) June 22, 2021
Local Memphis added that Beacon Press had been publishing King’s works since 2009. According to the interview, the literary agent who represented the late civil rights leader’s estate, remarked that sales performance had been recently ‘disappointing.’
“We felt the books had to be packaged in a much more contemporary way,” Amy Berkower said.
Although this significant deal marks a new partnership, HarperCollins Publishers published several of King’s works, including his first book called “Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story,” according to the recent announcement.
“The King estate is pleased to return the publishing rights to Dr. King’s literary archive to his original publisher. Dr. King’s prophetic message of peace, hope, love, and equality continues to impact the world today. That message is needed now more than ever. We look forward to utilizing HarperCollins’s global footprint to continue the perpetuation of Dr. King’s wonderful legacy through new creative literary projects,” Eric D. Tidwell said.
Tidwell works as the Managing Director and General Counsel of Intellectual Properties Management, Inc. (IPM).
Morehouse College previously made efforts to preserve King’s priceless collections, which includes ‘drafts of the “I Have a Dream” speech, King’s Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech, and sermons from his ministry and personal notes.’ Additionally, leaders established a multi-million-dollar deal to prevent Sotheby’s in New York from auctioning the items. King’s studies at Morehouse College began when he was 15, according to Morehouse’s website.