Recorded Events


  • About the eLabs Website Launch

    We would like to take a moment to introduce you to what you can find on our site today and what you can expect to find on it in the coming months.

What People Say

“As a documentary editing project on a contemporary figure, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Papers Project must address copyright concerns for the documents selected for publication. The Project’s agreement with the King Estate allows us to publish King-authored documents, and we search for the copyright holders for all other documents selected for publication. As authors age and pass away, new challenges emerge, including identifying the next of kin and current copyright holder, responding to unsolicited requests, and navigating agreements with managing estates. 

“The simplest case is when the author is the copyright holder. In these situations, we must first locate their contact information and solicit their approval through cold calls, letters, and emails. When contacted, people are usually eager to learn more about the Project’s work and to permit us to publish their document. 

“However, the permissions process becomes more difficult when the author has passed away. Searching for next-of-kin introduces new complications, including genealogical research to identify the most likely respondents. Furthermore, being removed from the events of the 1960s, family members are less likely to respond to unsolicited calls about their deceased relatives. As a result, solid research is crucial to confirm familial connections and identify which people are most likely to respond. Often, staff will attempt to locate an intermediary, such as an archive, mutual contact, or alumni association, to provide an introduction and vouch for our research and mission. 

“Like King, the families of famous correspondents, such as Malcolm X, have lawyers managing their estates and responding to requests for permission to publish their materials. While these firms respond quickly to inquiries, they, in turn, ask hefty fees to secure copyright permission. Even though they factor in our scholarly nature and offer a discount, the end sum remains considerable. It requires that we weigh the document’s historical significance against the financial cost.”

Tenisha Armstrong, Martin Luther King, Jr., Papers Project