Profile

A SUDDEN CALL
Profile: Clayborne Carson

By Diane Manuel
Photograph by Linda Cicero




CLAY CARSON’S LIFE hasn’t been quite the same since he answered the phone at 10 p.m. on a January evening in 1985. Coretta Scott King was calling from Atlanta to ask if he would consider heading up the Martin Luther King Jr. Papers Project. Although Carson had some initial doubts about the feasibility of directing the project from Stanford, he gradually was won over. Clayborne 
Carson

“There are times when you begin to identify with King being thrust into a role that he never asked for,” he says quietly. “In the same kind of way, I never applied for this position ­ it was something that kind of dropped out of the sky. I feel like my life has been to a large extent taken over by forces beyond my control, and all I can hope to do is my best.”

Carson has matured in the decade since Mrs. King turned to him as an up-and-coming young academic, and his hair and neatly trimmed beard now are the color of finely buffed pewter. He often wears an expression that is part squint, part question mark, and his dark eyebrows tend to furrow when he digs for answers.

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MAY/JUNE 1996

 In This Issue

DEPARTMENTS
 President’s Letter

NEWS
 Campus News
 Restoring the Quad
 Christopher Speech
 Campus News

 Sci & Med
 Fiscal Challenges
 Ants Yield Clues
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 Sports
 Olympic Coaches
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FEATURES
 Engineering Leadership
 James Gibbons
 John Hennessy

 Martin Luther King Jr.
 Clayborne Carson
 King Papers

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