Auction set for voting-rights conference program MLK signed

A piece of civil rights history will hit the auction block this weekend when a 1958 program autographed by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. will go on sale in Raleigh

The program comes from a Durham voter registration conference attended by King, who delivered the evening's main address. The auction, to include various collectibles, begins 10 a.m. Saturday.

When King visited Durham on April 9, 1958, his "I Have a Dream" speech was five years in the future, but he had long worked on the blueprint.

King, then only 29, had already helped lead the Montgomery bus boycott and worked to form the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a group that championed nonviolent resistance in the struggle for civil rights. The theme for the Durham conference, which was spread among multiple Durham churches, was "Serving God Through the Exercising of Civic Responsibilities."

King signed the program with a pencil in clear, precise handwriting across the front. The yellowed paper rests inside a glass frame at the auction house.

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