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American Prophet: The Inner Life and Global Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.

This course looks at Martin Luther King's life through the documents that have survived from the past.

American Prophet: The Inner Life and Global Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.

There is one session available:

After a course session ends, it will be archived.
Starts Oct 19
Ends Dec 31
Estimated 11 weeks
2–4 hours per week
Self-paced
Progress at your own speed
Free
Optional upgrade available

About this course

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Martin Luther King, Jr. was a minister turned civil rights activist known throughout the world as an inspirational orator and a passionate advocate of nonviolent civil disobedience. Yet what do we know about the inner workings of the man who inspired so many? How can we learn from his personal documents to better understand his hopes and fears as well as his drive?

During this captivating course, Professor Clayborne Carson will walk you through a journey of discovery, following Dr. King’s thoughts and steps through Atlanta, Albany, Selma, and Memphis. Each lesson will explore a few documents from the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project — a comprehensive collection of King’s most significant correspondence, sermons, speeches, published writings, and unpublished manuscripts. You will learn an essential technique of historical analysis: the use of primary source documents as windows into the past.

You will also view on-location filming of places Dr. King spent time, bringing to life the stories of his journey with personal commentary from Professor Carson and eyewitness interviews. Follow Dr. King’s extraordinary path from the benches of Ebenezer Baptist Church to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and become re-inspired by the man, the minister, the leader.

Dr. Clayborne Carson, the professor who teaches this course, is offering weekly Zoom calls for students interested in discussing the material further. Calls are every Monday at 3:30 PM Pacific Time.

Students can join by video chat at https://stanford.zoom.us/j/809831146. All are welcome.

At a glance

  • Institution: StanfordOnline
  • Subject: History
  • Level: Introductory
  • Prerequisites:

    This online course is open to learners from all backgrounds. All can benefit, including teachers, students, historians, and social activists who are passionate about American history. There are no prerequisites to take this course.

  • Language: English
  • Video Transcript: English

What you'll learn

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  • How Dr. King inspired the civil rights movement
  • How Dr. King’s public and private life influenced his view of the world and his legacy
  • How to use an essential technique of historical analysis
  • How to combine documents, facts, and context to gain a deeper understanding of history

About the instructors

Frequently Asked Questions

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Do I need to buy a textbook?

There are no required textbooks for this class. However, in each episode, we will present a list of optional recommended reading for those interested in delving further into the concepts we introduce.

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