Lankford Joins Bipartisan Reading of King’s Letter

Reading Held of King’s Birmingham Jail Letter

U.S. Sen. James Lankford

WASHINGTON—U.S.  Sen. James Lankford (Rep., Okla.)  Joined a bipartisan group of senators for a reading on the Senate floor of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s letter from a Birmingham, Ala., jail in April 1963.

The reading occurred on Tuesday.

Sen. Lankford joined U.S. Sens. Doug Jones (Dem., Ala.), John Kennedy (Rep., La.), Sherrod Brown (Dem., Ohio), Mitt Romney (Rep., Utah), Tammy Duckworth (Dem., Ill.) and Tim Scott (Rep., S.C.).

Sen. Scott made a special introduction.

Dr. King penned the letter from his cell, where he and other protestors were detained for leading a series of non-violent protests and boycotts in Birmingham to put pressure on the business community to end discrimination.

The civil rights leader wrote passionately in response to an open letter led by eight white clergymen from Alabama urging him to abandon his efforts in Birmingham, calling his protests “unwise and untimely” and criticizing him for being an outsider coming in to agitate in Birmingham.

Dr. King rejected the notion that Blacks should remain patient in the struggle to shed the bonds of oppression and daily indignities inflicted by Jim Crow laws in the South.  In his letter he famously responded to their criticisms writing, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” 

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