A provocative one minute video wonders what some of the great human rights activists and icons of modern history would have done if they hadn’t been killed by haters.
Today, April 16, is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” The letter was written to fellow ministers who questioned MLK’s timing and strategy in pushing for justice and freedom and equality.
Like all of MLK’s speeches and writing, it’s profound, eloquent, prophetic, universal and enduring:
“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”
Give yourself the gift of reading and sharing this letter today.
This looks like a great event for those in the DC area.
On Tuesday evening, April 16, the Overbeck History Lecture Series will present an on-stage interview with Simeon Booker, the 94-year-old journalist who covered the U.S. civil rights movement from its earliest days as a correspondent for Jet and Ebony and as the first black reporter hired by The Washington Post.
Booker has recorded his recollections of that era in a new book, Shocking the Conscience: A Reporter’s Account of the Civil Rights Movement. His wife Carol, who collaborated on the book, will join the April 16 conversation.
For African Americans in the 1950s, Jet became a vital source of news of the civil rights struggle. As Washington bureau chief for the pocket-size magazine and its glossy companion Ebony, Booker was on the front lines of virtually every major event. His coverage of the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, the Chicago teenager who was accused of whistling at a white woman while visiting Mississippi, provoked a wave of outrage and inspired a new generation to demand racial justice.
A longtime resident of Capitol Hill, Booker also covered 10 U.S. presidents, from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush, and offers fascinating perspectives on Washington politics and mores over the past six decades.
The lecture will be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 16, at the Naval Lodge Hall at 330 Pennsylvania Ave. S.E. and will conclude with a book signing. As usual, admission is free but a reservation is required due to limited seating. Please email OverbeckLecture@CapitolHillHistory.org and indicate how many seats you will need.
Check out this account by photographer Richard Copley who captured some of the most memorable images of Martin Luther King’s final weeks: