‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ coming to Jasper
by Jennifer Cohron
Nov 03, 2013 | 1811 views | 0 0 comments | 39 39 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Jasper is one of 13 communities in the state who will be hosting Red Mountain Theatre Company’s performance of “Letter From Birmingham Jail” this year.

The free event, which is appropriate for all ages, is scheduled for Thursday at 6 p.m. at Rowland Auditorium on the Jasper campus of Bevill State Community College.

The part of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be portrayed by professional actor Cecil E. Washington Jr.

Local community leaders will be reading letters from the eight white clergyman who wrote to King after he and others were arrested in April 1963 for nonviolent resistance to racism and segregation.

While the clergyman urged King not to protest local laws and let the battle be fought in courts instead, King defended the strategy of nonviolent direct action.

In response to the accusation that he was an outside agitator, King wrote in some of the most memorable lines from the letter, “I am in Birmingham because injustice is here...Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Local participants representing the clergy include Jerry Selman, Hoyt Elliott, Doug Farris, Henry Allred, Greg Williams, Jack Allen, Bill Watt and Bill Young.

The performance lasts for 45 minutes and is followed by an interactive discussion with the audience.

Local partners of the performance include BSCC, Walker Area Community Foundation, Walker County Bar Association and the Walker County Arts Alliance.

“Letter From Birmingham Jail” was organized by Red Mountain Theatre Company in recognition of the 50th anniversary year of several important moments in civil right history.

The performance in Birmingham earlier this year was so successful that Keith Cromwell, executive director of Red Mountain Theatre Company, scheduled a statewide tour.

Event promoter Ed Fields said the play is designed to make those in attendance look forward as well as back.

“It pays homage to Dr. King, but it also sets the stage for community conversation about what it means for contemporary civil rights issues,” Fields said.