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  • Writer's pictureErica Nicole

MLK Day 2023!

Dear white friends:

Before you take your federal holiday, we ask that you commit to reading at least one item from Dr. King’s prolific collection of speeches, essays and books. Reintroduce yourself to him — he was radically astute in his assessment of the racism, militarism and capitalism as matrixed systems that plagued Black Americans, working poor and those living in urban slums.

One of my favorites is A Letter from a Birmingham City Jail. In its form and content it is an American masterpiece. The primary theme is the hypocrisy of white clergymen. While he sat in jail on trumped up charges, they wrote him a letter and begged him to stall the protests and cool down the young people who protested on the front lines of the Civil Rights Movement. His response was a takedown of their logic. He detailed just how strategic nonviolent, direct action campaigns are and why waiting - in the face of white terrorism in every corner of the country - was not an option. In addition to all of that, he flexed his skills as a scholar and preacher. King wrote the entire essay from a jail cell, on scraps of paper without access to a library or aides.

The fight for justice was so dear to him that he improvised one of the most important pieces of writing on the subject in American history.

Take a look and tell someone else to take a look. Then you can take a break.

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