Historical marker dedicated for 'Letter from Birmingham Jail' - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Historical marker dedicated for 'Letter from Birmingham Jail'

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L-R: Birmingham Mayor William Bell, Bernice King and Gov. Robert Bentley at the marker unveiling. Source: Alan Collins L-R: Birmingham Mayor William Bell, Bernice King and Gov. Robert Bentley at the marker unveiling. Source: Alan Collins
The marker sits at the site of the old Birmingham jail where King wrote his historic letter. Source: Alan Collins The marker sits at the site of the old Birmingham jail where King wrote his historic letter. Source: Alan Collins
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BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) -

Fifty years ago Tuesday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail" in response to eight clergymen who asked King to stop the protests and demonstrations against segregationist laws in Birmingham.

Outside of the old city jail Governor Robert Bentley, Mayor William Bell and King's daughter, Bernice King, unveiled a historical marker to commemorate the event. King called it a fitting tribute.

"Who would have thought in Bull Conner's Birmingham that there would be an indelible reminder of the foot steps of Martin Luther King, Jr., King said.

Bell said the letter was an inspiration to continue to fight unjust laws and actions.

"Many people thought that [Martin Luther King, Jr.] should just stay away but in his letter he touched on so many notes as to why it was important to confront injustice at this time and on this date," Bell said.

Governor Bentley read the entire 7,000 word letter Monday. Bentley said it sent a powerful message to the church and white community in Birmingham.

"He said to the moderate whites who say they were for freedom and everyone's rights but were unwilling to stand up for that," Bentley said.

Kings says more needs to be done to achieve her father's dream of equality.

"He said injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere and I say there is still injustice everywhere and that is a threat to justice anywhere," King said.

King said her father almost didn't make it to Birmingham for the protests because he waiting on her to be born. King jokingly said after her mother took caster oil she was born and her father left.

Late Tuesday, when FOX6 News reporter Alan Collins went to the site to set up for a live shot, he found the marker gone. Birmingham Police Sgt. Johnny Williams assured FOX6 News that the marker hasn't been stolen.

Lee Sentell with the Alabama Tourism Department says that the marker was cast before today's dignitaries were confirmed for the dedication. The department is going to remake the marker to include King, Bell, and Bentley's names. Sentell says the new marker should be finished and installed within six weeks.

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