Lerone A. Martin is the Martin Luther King, Jr., Centennial Professor in Religious Studies and Director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute at Stanford University.

Martin is an award-winning author. His most recent book, "The Gospel of J. Edgar Hoover: How the FBI Aided and Abetted the Rise of White Christian Nationalism," was published in February 2023 by Princeton University Press. The book has garnered praise from numerous publications including The Nation, Foreign Affairs, The Guardian, Publisher’s Weekly, and History Today.

In 2014 he published, "Preaching on Wax: The Phonograph and the Making of Modern African American Religion."vvThe book received the 2015 first book award by the American Society of Church History.

In support of his research, Martin has received a number of nationally recognized fellowships, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, The American Council of Learned Societies, The Institute for Citizens and Scholars (formerly The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation), The Teagle Foundation, Templeton Religion Trust, the Louisville Institute for the Study of American Religion, and the Forum for Theological Exploration.

Most recently, Martin became Co-Director of $1 million grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to fund “The Crossroads Project,” a four-year, multi-institution project to advance public understanding of the history, politics, and cultures of African American religions.

He has also been recognized for his teaching, receiving institutional teaching awards as well as fellowships from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion.

His commentary and writing have been featured on The NBC Today Show, The History Channel, PBS, CSPAN, and Newsy, as well as in The New York Times, Boston Globe,, and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He currently serves as an advisor on the upcoming PBS documentary series The History of Gospel Music & Preaching.

Lerone is currently working on a nonfiction book and an adapted graphic novel about the adolescence and calling of Martin Luther King, Jr., both to be published by HarperCollins.

Academic Appointments

  • Associate Professor, Religious Studies

Administrative Appointments

  • Director, Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute (2022 - Present)

Honors & Awards

  • Co-Principal Investigator, “The Crossroads Project on Black Religion, Henry Luce Foundation (2021-2025)
  • Principal Investigator, Citizenship and Freedom, The Teagle Foundation (2020)
  • Co-Principal Investigator, “Harnessing Religious Values to Increase Public Virtue.", Templeton Religion Trust (2019-2021)
  • Faculty Fellowship, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) (2018-2019)
  • Faculty Fellowship, The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) (2016-2017)
  • Mellon Emerging Faculty Leaders Award, The Institute for Citizens and Scholars, formerly The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (2016-2017)
  • Frank S. and Elizabeth D. Brewer Prize for outstanding scholarship by a first-time author, The American Society of Church History, affiliate of the American Historical Association (AHA). (2015)

Program Affiliations

  • American Studies

2023-24 Courses

Stanford Advisees

All Publications

  • Harnessing religious teachings to reduce sexual prejudice JOURNAL OF MORAL EDUCATION Wilkins, C. L., Martin, L. A. 2022
  • Is LGBT Progress Seen as an Attack on Christians?: Examining Christian/Sexual Orientation Zero-Sum Beliefs JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Wilkins, C. L., Wellman, J. D., Toosi, N. R., Miller, C. A., Lisnek, J. A., Martin, L. A. 2022; 122 (1): 73-101


    As social policies have changed to grant more rights to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals, some Christians in the United States have suggested that LGBT rights impede Christians' religious freedom. Across five studies, we examined the causes and consequences of zero-sum beliefs (ZSBs) about Christians and LGBT individuals. We demonstrate that Christians' beliefs about conflict with sexual minorities are shaped by their understandings of Christian values, social change, interpretation of the Bible, and in response to religious institutions. In Study 1, heterosexual cisgender Christians endorsed ZSBs more than other groups. Christians reported perceiving that anti-LGBT bias has decreased over time while anti-Christian bias has correspondingly increased. In Study 2, Christians' zero-sum beliefs increased after they reflected on religious values, suggesting that intergroup conflict is seen as being a function of Christian beliefs. Study 3 confirmed the role of symbolic threat in driving ZSBs; perceived conflict was accentuated when Christians read about a changing cultural climate in which Christians' influence is waning. An intervention using Biblical scripture to encourage acceptance successfully lowered zero-sum beliefs for mainline but not fundamentalist Christians (Study 4). A final field study examined how ZSBs predict sexual prejudice in response to changing group norms. After a special conference in which the United Methodist Church voted to restrict LGBT people from marriage and serving as clergy, zero-sum beliefs became a stronger predictor of sexual prejudice (Study 5). We discuss the implications of Christian/LGBT ZSBs for religious freedom legislation, attitudes toward sexual minorities, and intergroup conflict more generally. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).

    View details for DOI 10.1037/pspi0000363

    View details for Web of Science ID 000733133500001

    View details for PubMedID 34197175

  • Bureau Clergyman: How the FBI Colluded with an African American Televangelist to Destroy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. RELIGION AND AMERICAN CULTURE-A JOURNAL OF INTERPRETATION Martin, L. 2018; 28 (1): 1-51
  • American Religion and the Rise of Internal Security A Prologue FBI AND RELIGION: FAITH AND NATIONAL SECURITY BEFORE AND AFTER 9/11 Lum, K., Martin, L. A., Johnson, S. A., Weitzman, S. 2017: 17–31