When you consider the impact climate change will have on our collective future, it is instructive to remember what Martin Luther King had to say about the power of non-violent civil disobedience in that letter in 1958.
As the capital of Alabama, and former capital of The Confederate States of America, Montgomery is steeped in history, but for people of our generation its recent history is more transformational. This is the city where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. began his civil rights work.
Children played a critical role in demonstrations that defined the civil rights movement in Birmingham. Fifty years later, we remember another leader, the late Dr. Michael Froning, for helping Birmingham's children, families and teachers develop a sense of their own stake in education.
This 50th anniversary reminds me that in the David-and-Goliath-like battle that pitted Martin Luther King, Jr., school children and the best of the Civil Rights movement against the Ku Klux Klan and white racists -- active nonviolence can transform anything.
In his cell, fifty years ago this week, Dr. King wrote what became known as the manifesto of the civil rights movement, the "Letter from Birmingham Jail," in which he set forth his views on justice and nonviolence and challenged the consciences not just of his addressees but of the world
Martin Luther King transformed the local criticism of eight clergymen into a national response for the movement. His "Letter From Birmingham Jail" is probably the most important document written during the Civil Rights Movement.
This month presents an opportune moment to reflect upon what guidance Dr. King's poignant words can offer our society in addressing what some have called "the new civil rights movement": the same-sex marriage movement.
We need to resurrect the message in MLK's Letter From a Birmingham Jail -- the message that continues to call us to seek justice and to understand that "a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
I would have preferred my beautiful boy ask me a different question. Something like, "How did I get inside mommy's stomach when I was a baby?" As parent-child discussions go, Reproductive Biology is easier than race relations and the Civil Rights Movement.
Of the 50 people I spoke to (mostly college and high school students) at Madison Square Garden, not one of them was familiar with the Letter from Birmingham Jail. I know what you are thinking: "Thank heaven Alona had a copy!"
After three days in D.C.'s Central Cell Block, I'll go to this weekend's big celebrations for the opening of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial on the Washington Mall with even more respect for MLK's calm power.