Tag: Martin Luther King Jr.

Jefferson County Commission Moves to Preserve Downtown Jail Where Martin Luther King Jr. Was Held

The Jefferson County Commission today took the first steps toward acknowledging and preserving remnants of the jail where Martin Luther King Jr. was held.

History often refers to King’s Birmingham incarceration in 1963, during which he penned his Letter From a Birmingham Jail. But months before his 1968 assassination, King was again jailed in Jefferson County, first in Bessemer and a day later on the seventh floor of the Jefferson County Courthouse in downtown Birmingham.

Mark Pettway, the first black elected sheriff of the county, said he is proud to be part of this memorial to King.

“We have an opportunity to tell the full story about someone who came to Jefferson County to change the lives of all those who lived here,” Pettway said. “We want to make sure that that hidden treasure that is here in this building … is memorialized to make sure that the full story does not end in Bessemer but continues here in this part of Jefferson County.”

Birmingham Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day With Marches, History, Service Projects

Martin Luther King Jr. holds a special place in the history of Birmingham. It was here that he wrote the Letter from Birmingham Jail after being arrested during a civil rights march.

King, in conjunction with local civil rights activists, organized the Birmingham campaign, which led to a brutal crackdown by law enforcement, captured the nation’s attention and contributed to passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

That history will be commemorated Monday with a list of events marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

At the King statue in Kelly Ingram Park – near sculptures depicting the lunging, snarling dogs released on civil rights marchers praying ministers, children who took part in the protests and many others – a wreath-laying ceremony will be held at 10 a.m.

A march in tribute to King follows at 11 a.m., beginning at the park. Read more.