A Reading of "Letter from Birmingham Jail"

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Please join Square Books and the Oxford community on Saturday, January 13th at 5 PM at Off Square Books for a reading of "Letter From Birmingham Jail." All are welcome.

An earlier version of this webpage incorrectly listed the event date as Monday, January 15th. The correct date is Saturday, January 13th.


In 2017, Square Books honored the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a community reading of "Letter from Birmingham Jail." The letter, composed while King was in jail on April 16, 1963, came as a forceful theological and humane response to a group of Alabama clergy members who had openly criticized King for a perceived impatience during a crucial early period of the Civil Rights Movement. For the reading, more than thirty community members read a paragraph from the letter. It was a moving and unifying reading resulting in a sense of empowerment and solidarity. All in attendance were inspired, and we resolved to repeat the reading every year.  

Let's recognize that the holiday celebrating the life of MLK is not only a time to reflect on the past, but a time to examine on our lives today as well as plan for the better future he envisioned.

The letter is included in Reverend King's book, Why We Can't Wait. According to Square Books' Richard Howorth, "King began writing the letter in the margins of a newspaper in which the ministers' letter had appeared, and it is considered to be one of the great literary documents of American history. We are excited to help the community remember and celebrate the life of this great man." King was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace the following year, 1964.

Why We Can't Wait By Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Jesse Jackson (Afterword by) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780451527530
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Signet - January 1st, 2000

Martin Luther King’s classic exploration of the events and forces behind the Civil Rights Movement—including his Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963.

“There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair.”

Event date: 
Saturday, January 13, 2024 - 5:00pm
Off Square Books
129 Courthouse Square
Oxford, MS 38655