Birmingham is at the center of attention for the Civil Rights Movement's 50th Anniversary. Monday, churches united to talk about and reflect on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail."
Dr. King was arrested and jailed in Birmingham while combating the city's segregationist laws. Eight Birmingham clergymen urged King to stop the demonstrations in 1963. His letter from the Birmingham Jail was his response to the clergymen.
The Christian Churches Together USA hosted a two-day panel at St. Paul United Methodist Church. Dr. King's daughter, Dr. Bernice King, along with Georgia Congressman John Lewis spoke at the event.
Late Monday the group issued a response to King's letter, saying they confess they followed the law but the churches have an obligation to change laws that are unjust. The organization resolved that followers of Christ must stand together and struggle together for justice that includes adopting anti-racism mandates.
"Let's talk about the violence at the heart at the triple evils of what King identified. Racism, war and poverty. All three are incestuous twins," Virgil Wood, who worked with King in 1963, said.
"Before we can do anything we have to know each other and this is an opportunity to know each other and see what things we can bring to the table," Bishop Don Williams, the Washington D.C., Associate Director of African American Church Relations, said.
Bishop Williams said if they leave Birmingham without a commitment to do something for social justice it would be a wasted trip to the Magic City. The group hopes King's vision may lead to Christian unity for justice.
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