The publishing giant HarperCollins has reached an agreement with the estate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to acquire world publishing rights to the late Civil Rights leader’s entire archives—a collection which contains some of the “most historically important and vital literature in American history.”
As reported by Publishers Weekly earlier today, the mega-deal gives HarperCollins world rights “to publish new books from the archives across all formats, including children’s books, e-books, audiobooks, journals, and graphic novels in all languages.”
Given the significance of the books in question, it seems strange that a deal like this one wasn’t made sooner, but this is welcome news nonetheless.
More welcome still is HC’s assertion that it will hire a dedicated archivist to oversee the project, and “engage prominent Black scholars, actors, artists, performers, and social activists to help bring Dr. King’s works to life.”
Way back in 1958, HC’s predecessor company Harper & Brothers published Dr. King’s very first book, Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story, which detailed the 1955–56 Montgomery bus boycott and described the conditions of African Americans living in Alabama during the era.
The first MLK titles to be published by HC are scheduled to drop in January 2022, to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day.