For the past few years, I’ve made it a personal duty to read Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” each MLK day. It takes me nearly half an hour to read it. Today I looked at some other sources and found a video re-enactment of his letter, along with some video clips of the issues he addresses and the audio of the letter to the newspaper written by Birmingham clergymen that prompted the writing of his letter.
This letter was written in 1963, the year Jean and I married. It reminds me of how far our nation has come, of how far we still have to go, and of the price good people are willing to pay to find freedom. It convicts me of the complacency that often comes with privilege.
This morning, as I read the letter again, I felt strongly to share it on social media and to share it with my daughters and their husbands. My grandsons are only seven and five years old now, but I’m thinking that as they get older, we could and should find some creative ways to help them understand the privilege they have as white, middle-class Americans, the inequalities that still exist, and the price others have paid in the on-going fight for freedom and equality.
The letter takes me almost 30 minutes to read to myself. This video, which contains the audio of the clergy letter and a video re-enactment of Dr King’s letter is about 56 minutes long.
I hope you can find some creative ways to stay aware of our privilege of position and race and other’s pain and sacrifice and that you can find creative ways to help your kids understand and care.
See video links below:
Grace and peace,
Letter from a Birmingham Jail video
Letter from a Birmingham Jail full text of speech