Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Letter from Birmingham Jail: A Worldwide Celebration

Birmingham Library Encourages All to Read King’s Letter

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was arrested and placed in solitary confinement in the Birmingham City Jail on Good Friday, April 12, 1963. During the time of his incarceration—which lasted through April 20—King wrote his legendary epistle "Letter From Birmingham Jail." While area clergymen "encouraged black leaders like King, Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and the other demonstration organizers to put off the massive protests, from his jail cell King penned a letter which encouraged the remaining movement leaders to continue to press forward with the their plans. King’s letter included many memorable phrases including these words, “. . . when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of nobodiness—then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.”

On April 16, 2013, the 50th anniversary of the day that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. began writing his "Letter from Birmingham Jail," the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) will sponsor a program titled Letter from Birmingham Jail: A Worldwide Celebration. At the Central Library, library supporters, staff and other participants will read excerpts from the letter beginning at 12:00 noon in the Atrium of the East Building. Additionally, the library’s staff has shared invitations for other groups around the globe including libraries, museums, schools, universities, churches, synagogues, temples, places where people work, public parks, bookstores, street corners, coffee shops and anywhere that people want to participate, to organize planned readings of the letter—to date, 224 locations have responded.

People who participate in the readings can read the full text of the Letter or selections from the Letter, individually, as a group, or however they want to do this. Groups participating may range from two people to hundreds of people. Readings can be done at any time of the day on April 16. For more information, visit http://www.bplonline.org/letterfrombirminghamjail

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