By John McDevitt

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Starting this weekend, Eastern State Penitentiary historic site is holding three days of readings and discussions to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his 1963 Letter from Birmingham Jail.

Youth readers, professional actors and community leaders read experts from Dr. King’s letter, a civil rights scholar leads a Q&A session with visitors discussing its relevance today.

“He went to Birmingham, Alabama explicitly to bring out the worst racism he could find in the United States and to do it very visibly in front of the media,” said Sean Kelley, Director of Interpretation and Public Programming for Eastern State Penitentiary. “And to do so he had to put his own body at enormous risk by going into the prisons and into the jails and letting himself get arrested. But it forced particularly white moderate Americans to really confront what their government was doing on their behalf.”

Sections of the letter will be read three times a day through Monday.

More information is available at the Eastern State Penitentiary.


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