Ralph Luker

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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.