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Off Square Books to honor Martin Luther King, Jr. on Saturday

On April 16, 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote one of the most integral letters to the Civil Rights movement from his jail cell in Birmingham. King wrote the letter in response to Alabama clergymen who had criticized the reverend for being impatient in his cause and that he should wait for the courts to enact justice.

In response, King doubled-down in his beliefs in nonviolent protest which would eventually lead to breakthroughs.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” King famously wrote in the manuscript.

Coinciding with Martin Luther King Day on Monday, Off Square Books will be having a reading of his “Letter from Birmingham Jail” commemorating his important words on Saturday, Jan. 14, at 5 p.m.

Members of the community are encouraged to sign up and read passages of the letter along with some local figures including Ole Miss Chancellor Jeffrey Vitter, Athletic Director Ross Bjork, author Alysia Steele and Curtis Wilkie, a longtime journalist who interviewed King during the ‘60s.

According to Off Square Books manager Lyn Roberts, this is the first time the store has done this event.

“I think the writings and words of Dr. King are all very important,” Roberts said. “It’s a good time to reflect on how far we’ve come and also how far we still have to go. We wanted this to be a community event and bring in lots of people to celebrate his life together and what he did for us. We also wanted to come together to look at the future as well.”

Roberts says that there are still open slots for those interested in reading on Saturday, all are encouraged to join.

“His birthday is on Sunday, so we thought this would be a good way to segue into the celebration,” she added. “We look forward to celebrating his life with our community.”