School papers, Essays, Dissertations/APA citation


In my research paper, I need to cite a paper that MLK wrote as a junior at Morehouse College. I found it online through a Stanford University collection of MLK's writings. I am unsure how to write the citation, as I'm unable to find any date connected to the Stanford Collection & I hesitate to use the date King wrote the paper (1947), because it wasn't published then.

I hope you can help! I'm linking King's paper below. Thanks!


Go ahead and show the 1947 date of writing in the internal citation, but citations of materials found on the Internet should also show the URL (link) and the date you retrieved the document. You might include a parenthetical notation that it was in 1947 an unpublished student essay. See the APA guidelines for citing electronic sources. When Stanford posted the collection is not really important. The APA also provides guidelines for citing unpublished materials, but this has long since been published (even if you're not sure when the collection went live), so I don't think those are relevant in this case.

Actually, I looked at the link after I wrote the above. It appears it was an article in the school's paper, although the exact date (January-February) appears indefinite. So the essay had indeed been published. Perhaps the paper only published every other month at that time. In any event, citing it with its actual date of writing and then providing the URL and when you retrieved it will fulfill your obligation to cite it in a way that the reader can also find it. That's the purpose of citations.

Hope this helps.

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Dan Smith


I have been a professional writer and editor for more than 30 years, taught speech and English composition at the university level, and have developed speech and English composition courses and seminars for businesses. I am experienced in editing a wide variety of materials, especially business, scientific, and other academic papers. I am familiar with all the major style guides.


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