Ralph Luker
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Ralph Luker

Ralph E. Luker (March 1, 1940 - August 8, 2015) was an American historian, teacher, and the author of several books about race, religion and the Civil Rights Movement.

Ralph Luker founded the Cliopatria history group blog on the History News Network of George Mason University's Center for History and New Media.[1] He closed Cliopatria in March 2012 after moderating this group blog for eight and a quarter years.

Luker had taught in departments of history at Allegheny College, Antioch College, and Morehouse College, and in departments of religion at Lincoln University (Pennsylvania) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

Luker lived in Arden, Delaware from 1980 until 1986 when he and his family (wife and two daughters) moved to Atlanta, Georgia to begin work on The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.[2]

In 1994, when he was associate professor of history at Antioch College, Luker was denied tenure after accusations of racism by some students. Outraged by the charges, Luker underwent a hunger-strike but to no avail.[3][4]

Ralph E. Luker died in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday August 8, 2015.



  • (In progress as of 2003.) The Man Who Started Freedom: The Essays, Sermons and Speeches of Vernon Johns. Critical edition of the papers of Vernon Johns, the father of the American civil rights movement.[5]
  • 1996: Historical Dictionary of the Civil Rights Movement, 1941-1995. The Scarecrow Press, Inc. Hardcover: ISBN 0-8108-3163-5.
  • 1996: Black and White Sat Down Together: The Reminiscences of an NAACP Founder. The Feminist Press at CUNY. Hardcover: ISBN 1-55861-099-5. (See also: Mary White Ovington.)
  • 1992: The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Volume I: Called to Serve, January 1929 - June 1951. Clayborne Carson, Ralph E. Luker, Penny A. Russell, eds. University of California Press.[6] Hardcover: ISBN 978-0-520-07950-2.
  • 1994: The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr., Volume II: Rediscovering Precious Values, July 1951 - November 1955. Clayborne Carson, Ralph E. Luker, Penny A. Russell, Peter Holloran, eds. University of California Press.[6] Hardcover: ISBN 978-0-520-07951-9.
  • Winner of the 1992 Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights.[9]
  • 1984: A Southern Tradition in Theology and Social Criticism, 1830-1930: The Religious Liberalism and Social Conservatism of James Warley Miles, William Porcher DuBose, and Edgar Gardner Murphy. Edwin Mellen Press.[10][11] Hardcover: ISBN 0-88946-655-6, ISBN 978-0-88946-655-5.



  1. ^ Cliopatria: A Group blog Archived 2007-01-22 at the Wayback Machine. George Mason University History News Network.
  2. ^ leasehold records, Arden Craftshop Museum and Archives, Arden, DE
  3. ^ Brian McFillen (February 28, 2007). "Starving for tenure". Indiana Daily Student. In 1994, despite having "five books in print, four earned academic degrees (and) a nomination for a Pulitzer Prize," Luker was denied tenure by Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.
  4. ^ John Gravois. Hunger Strikes Over Tenure Denials Can Succeed and Fail Simultaneously, Says Veteran of Fast From the Past (February 22, 2007). A Fast From the Past: a Retired Scholar Talks About an Episode 13 Years Ago (March 2, 2007). Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription).
  5. ^ The Vernon Johns Papers Project (working table of contents).
  6. ^ a b Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. Archived 2007-01-07 at the Wayback Machine at the University of California Press.
  7. ^ Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute Archived 2007-02-06 at the Wayback Machine at Stanford University.
  8. ^ University of North Carolina Press at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  9. ^ Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights Archived 2012-02-29 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ A Southern Tradition in Theology and Social Criticism, 1830-1930. Edwin Mellen Press.
  11. ^ See also: William Porcher DuBose, Edgar Gardner Murphy, James Warley Miles (James Warley Miles Library Archived 2007-04-07 at the Wayback Machine at the College of Charleston).
  12. ^ The American Society of Church History Archived 2012-07-21 at Archive.today.
  13. ^ The New England Quarterly.
  14. ^ Slavery & Abolition: A Journal of Slave and Post-Slave Studies.
  15. ^ South Atlantic Quarterly.
  16. ^ Southern Cultures.

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