“so am I compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my own home town”
Today is both the holiday for celebrating the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King and the ceremonial inauguration of President Barack Obama.
“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”
So it’s as good a day as any to review Dr. King’s great “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
“Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.”
In between the inauguration festivities and the parade of parties tonight, I present to you a collection of materials about what is arguably the greatest-ever articulation of civil rights.
” Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily.”
Here’s a link to the fascinating story behind the letter, which was smuggled out piecemeal to King’s colleagues and re-assembled like a jigsaw puzzle.
“when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of ‘nobodiness’–then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.”
I can’t embed the 15-minute video, so I encourage you to click through and listen to the story behind this incredible document.
“Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.”
Here is a nearly hour-long video that contains a dramatic reenactment of King in the jail cell, first as he reads the letter from the white clergy of Birmingham and then as he composes his response.
“Are you able to accept blows without retaliating?”
I encourage you to spend an hour listening to the actor bringing this 7,000 word letter to life.
“We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”
Sit still. Listen. Don’t multi-task. Let it land on your ears and wind its way into your heart. Devote yourself to this message.
“Never before have I written so long a letter. I’m afraid it is much too long to take your precious time. I can assure you that it would have been much shorter if I had been writing from a comfortable desk, but what else can one do when he is alone in a narrow jail cell, other than write long letters, think long thoughts and pray long prayers?”