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Mayor: MLK papers to find home at Morehouse College

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ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- The children of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. will receive an undisclosed amount of money from an anonymous group of people for about 10,000 manuscripts and books belonging to the civil rights icon, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin's office said Friday.

A planned June 30 auction will be canceled. Sotheby's auction house had expected to command between $15 million and $30 million for the documents.

The papers include drafts of King's "I Have a Dream" speech, his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance address and a printed version of the "Letter from Birmingham Jail."

King, who won the Nobel Prize at age 35, was fatally shot April 4, 1968.

Franklin's office said only that the group purchasing the papers represent the interests of Atlanta. King was an Atlanta native and both he and his wife Coretta Scott King, who died earlier this year, are buried in the city.

The papers will be housed at Atlanta's historically black Morehouse College, King's alma mater.

"This is a wonderful outcome for this collection" said Dexter King, one of King's sons and the chief executive officer of his estate.

"I know my mother would have been happy to see the collection housed permanently in Atlanta, which always meant so much to her and to our family."

The public exhibition of the King collection will continue at Sotheby's in New York until June 29th, at the request of Dexter King, according to Sotheby's.

"Sotheby's is thrilled that the papers of Dr. King, one of the greatest world leaders, are going to the city he called home" said the auction house's vice chairman, David Redden, in a Sotheby's news release.

"This historic archive is of extraordinary significance and the King Estate and Sotheby's had hoped - and worked hard to ensure -- that its disposition would permit access to the public and to scholars. This has now been achieved."

The collection also contains more than 7,000 documents written by King, including a college examination on the Bible from 1946, his earliest surviving theological writing, and papers he was working on just before his assassination in 1968.

CNN's Deanna Proeller contributed to this report.


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President Lyndon Johnson hands the Rev. Martin Luther King a pen after signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

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