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Special Program This Weekend Highlights MLK Letter From Jail

Actor Dax richardson reads King's letter from Birmingham at Eastern State Penitentiary. (Credit: Hadas Kuznits)

Actor Dax richardson reads King’s letter from Birmingham at Eastern State Penitentiary. (Credit: Hadas Kuznits)

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By Hadas Kuznits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Eastern State Penitentiary is hosting a program at the prison this weekend, taking a look a Dr. Martin Luther King’s letter from Birmingham jail.

Portions of Dr. King’s 1963 letter are being read by actor Dax Richardson, while Temple University doctoral student Sam Davis interjects to provide historical context.

“It’s the civil rights movement and in Birmingham, King has stated that he saw like the deepest, most violent political repression of African Americans demonstrating and the freedom struggle,” says Davis.

He says this letter is different from King’s famous, uplifting “I Have A Dream” speech, as it’s a response to criticism from local clergy members calling him an outside agitator stirring up local tensions.

“In the letter, it’s very obvious that he’s writing from a different context because he’s in jail so the letter is filled with a lot of despair and he’s kind of dismayed and kind of heartbroken of the inaction of the clergy against segregation,” Davis said.

The Letter From Birmingham program takes place three times a day and runs through Monday.

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