This Martin Luther King Day weekend, come out to Eastern State Penitentiary for reading and discussion of the Letter from Birmingham Jail, a defining document of the civil rights movement.
Readings will take place throughout the day Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. See the Eastern State site for details.
The great Dax Richardson will be voicing Dr. King. Temple’s Minju Bae and I will facilitate the discussions and provide historical context. Monday’s sessions will also feature readers from the community.
In past years, these readings and discussions have been powerful times of reflection and dialogue. I’ve been privileged to participate in this event during a whirlwind of change over the past few years. In 2015 and 2016, the black lives matter movement made the discussion of the letter feel extremely urgent. In 2017, after the election of Donald Trump and the palpable turn in the national mood away from attention to racial injustice, the letter took on a different hue. Who knows what this year will bring!
Whether you’re able to come to a reading or not, if you’ve never been to Eastern State, you should go! It is an astonishing historic site. In recent years Eastern State has won major national awards for its top-notch exhibits and programming. Their exhibit on mass incarceration is sobering and deeply relevant.