The King Center and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights Launch  Letter From Birmingham Jail Program to Mark International Human Rights Day

Celebration offers a two-day nonviolence training and a panel discussion Dec. 8 to 10


ATLANTA, GA (Dec. 3, 2020) – The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center) and the National Center for Civil and Human Rights (NCCHR) are partnering to mark International Human Rights Day with a three-part series on the King masterpiece, Letter from Birmingham Jail. The series will be December 8 to 10, 2020.

The series will provide insight on how people of conscience can incorporate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s nonviolent philosophy to address systemic racism. To do this, the three-day series will provide a deep exploration of Dr. King’s celebrated “Letter From Birmingham Jail,” — its origins, and its guidance for addressing racism and all forms of discrimination in America today.

Dr. King wrote “Letter From Birmingham Jail” in 1963, while in jail for violating an anti-protest injunction in Birmingham during the campaign to end segregation at lunch counters and in hiring practices in the city. Dr. King was responding to a letter by eight Alabama clergyman who criticized nonviolent civil rights demonstrations.

As a foundational document of national ideals, Dr. King’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” provides critical guidance for addressing the challenges America faces today.

“I am excited for the opportunity to partner with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights to bring attention to the work of my father, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. during such a time as this,” states Dr. Bernice A. King. “Our country is in the midst of momentous transformation, just as it was during the 1960s, and we are fortunate that he left us with the nonviolent blueprint to successfully navigate through these turbulent times. We should follow his example of love-based, courageous leadership, even during his unjust confinement. We must all truly believe and put action behind his words, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,’ to create the Beloved Community he envisioned.”

The three-part series includes two, 90-minute nonviolence trainings (December 8 and 9), which will provide historical context for the letter and interactive conversations about issues Dr. King raises in the piece, as well as an hour-long panel discussion among King experts (December 10). All events will be offered online. Training registration is $30, with free admission for students. The panel discussion is free.

  • Letter from Birmingham Jail: Examining History for Social Change Today

Tuesday, Dec. 8, noon – 1:30pm

The training will address:

  • Why That Jail: The Birmingham Campaign
  • Why That Letter: The Statement from Alabama Clergy That Prompted the Letter
  • How Then Connects to Now: The Letter’s Expose on 1963 and 2020


  • Letter from Birmingham Jail: Extracting Strategy for Social Change Today

Wednesday, Dec 9, noon – 1:30pm

The training will address:

  • Foundational Thinking: Injustice Anywhere and Interconnectedness
  • Major Themes that Matter Today: Creative Use of Time, Christians & Justice, and Civil Disobedience
  • Questions of Strategy: Why Direct Action and How is Direct Action Integrated in Nonviolence


  • Letter from Birmingham Jail: Experiencing A Single Garment of Destiny

Thursday, Dec. 10, 6pm – 7pm

The panel features:

  • Susannah Heschel, Dartmouth University Jewish and Biblical Studies
  • Clayborne Carson, Stanford University King Institute
  • Bernice King, The King Center
  • Moderator: Fatima Chaudhary, Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Center in Oakland, California
  • Moderator: Taos Wynn, Social Advocate, Author & Speaker
  • Former United Nations Ambassador Andrew Young

“Dr. King’s letter outlines why nonviolent resistance is a strategy against racism,” said Jill Savitt, CEO and President of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights. “It outlines the moral responsibility we all share to take action against racism and could not be more timely for what our country faces today and how individuals should respond.”

Register for training sessions and panel here


About the National Center for Civil and Human Rights
The National Center for Civil and Human Rights in downtown Atlanta is a cultural institution that connects the American Civil Rights Movement to the struggle for human rights around the world today. The Center features a continuously rotating exhibit from The Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection, which includes many of Dr. King’s documents and personal items. Visitors will be immersed in experiential exhibits through powerful and authentic stories, historic documents, compelling artifacts, and interactive activities. The Center is a source for ongoing dialogue — hosting educational forums and attracting world-renowned speakers and artists who work on a variety of human rights topics. For more information, visit Join the conversation on civil and human rights: | |

About The King Center  

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center) is a 501(c) (3) organization established in 1968 by Mrs. Coretta Scott King. The King Center is the official living memorial and programmatic nonprofit organization committed to educating the world on the life, legacy, and nonviolent teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The King Center is committed to preparing global citizens to utilize the principles and strategies of Nonviolence (Nonviolence365) to create a more just, humane and peaceful world. Learn more at Follow the King Center on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube



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