By Hadas Kuznits

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Now through Monday, Eastern State Penitentiary is hosting a program called “Letter from Birmingham Jail” in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday.

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Actor Dax Richardson reads portions of Martin Luther King Jr.’s now famous (1963) letter from an Alabama jail where he was detained for civil disobedience. Meanwhile, Temple University PhD candidate Jesse Curtis asks audience members probing questions:

“Basically, we just read excerpts from the letter, we discuss it, provide some historical context and really try to get people to think about it in relation to their own life.”

Jesse Curtis, PhD candidate Temple University (left) and actor Dax Richardson. (Credit: Hadas Kuznits)

Jesse Curtis, PhD candidate Temple University (left) and actor Dax Richardson. (Credit: Hadas Kuznits)

Curtis explains, in the letter, King is responding to his critics who are saying you should not be conducting street demonstrations:

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“And King really talks about the difference between a just and an unjust law.”

Curtis says recent protests in Ferguson and across the country make this program especially relevant:

“He understood that people have a very difficult time seeing injustice. It becomes normal; and he said civil disobedience was necessary to dramatize what was going on and I think with this program what we’re saying is maybe it’s still necessary.”

Curtis adds King’s message still resonates today.

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