UD President Patrick Harker (center) at opening of the exhibit on the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

MLK Imaging Project

Traveling King Center Imaging Project arrives at UD

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3:23 p.m., Feb. 8, 2013--Have you ever wondered about the notes Martin Luther King Jr. scribbled before getting his “I Have a Dream Speech” just right? And did you know that the leader of America’s civil rights movement, who captivated and inspired audiences with his speeches and sermons, actually earned a “C” in his public speaking course at the Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pa.?

Now you can find this information and much more through an interactive exhibit and website that celebrates The King Center Imaging Project.

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Sponsored by JPMorgan Chase, the exhibit opened at the University of Delaware with a special ribbon cutting ceremony attended by a crowd of faculty, staff, students, local political leaders and community members on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at the Perkins Student Center. The exhibit was on view through Friday, Feb. 8.

From an illuminated “Dream Wall,” where visitors can write their dreams on a “My Dream Is” card, to computers and tablets that feature the online archive and displays of digital images of correspondence, speeches and sermons, visitors can explore the documents of King and other key figures and organizations from the civil rights movement.

A collaboration between JPMorgan Chase and The King Center that involved the work of UD students, the Imaging Project has digitized nearly 200,000 pieces of paper.

Through JPMorgan Chase’s Technology for Social Good Program, more than 300 highly skilled imaging and archival experts, as well as U.S. veterans and students at Spelman and Morehouse colleges and UD worked to digitize everything from educational records and scribbled notes to sermons and letters.

President Patrick Harker expressed gratitude for the University’s collaboration with JPMorgan Chase and for the opportunity UD students had to get involved in the expansive technical work of the project.

“I don’t think you can overstate the value of this resource for anyone interested in this country’s history and in a man whose moral leadership so powerfully shaped it,” said Harker. 

“That our students had the chance to take part in JPMorgan Chase’s Technology for Social Good Program and work on something as meaningful as The King Center Imaging Project is our engagement principle in action. This is the real promise of higher education, the opportunity for students to put their time, their skills and their hard work into a project with such profound impact.”

Courtney Smith Goodrich, who noted the company’s collaboration with UD goes back through 2009 and involves initiatives like the Global Enterprise Technology program and the on-campus JPMorgan Chase Innovation Center, said the project is just one example of how the company aims to deepen the educational and real-life experience of students on campus.

“At the Innovation Center, students can work with full time JPMorgan Chase employees on internships and research projects and one of the research opportunities the students worked on was The King Center Imaging Project,” said Smith Goodrich. “Today’s exhibit really showcases our goal of delivering long term value not only to the University and the private sector but also to the broader community.”

According to Smith Goodrich, Corey Wall and Scott Malinowski, both recent UD graduates who now work full time with JPMorgan Chase, were instrumental in the project.

“The exhibit has been traveling around the country for about the last 18 months spreading the great work the Technology for Social Good group was able to complete,” said Wall, who coordinated and trained the volunteers that work with the exhibit. “I’m very excited to see the vision of this project and our work come to the University of Delaware.” 

State Treasurer Chip Flowers commended the University and JPMorgan Chase for digitizing the documents to make them available to future generations to study and reflect upon.

“Imagine a researcher in this new era who is able to study the work of abolition through Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams through the digital work at the Massachusetts Historical Society and the University of Virginia,” said Flowers. “That same researcher could study emancipation through the words of President Abraham Lincoln through the digital work of the National Archive, and can continue to study the work of equality under the law through the words of Presidents Johnson and Kennedy through the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and the LBJ Presidential Library.” 

“And now that the final keystone is in place, because of JPMorgan Chase, President Harker and the work of UD students, that same researcher can now study the voices of the civil rghts movement through the champion of Dr. Martin Luther King and The King Center Imaging Project.”

Article by Kathryn Meier

Photo by Evan Krape

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