When events become as famous as Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" and the fact, at least, that Oscar Wilde was sentenced to prison for homosexuality - we tend to think we know all about them when all we really know is whatever remains in memory from the last time we thought about them. (Palimpsest is the name of a novel Gore Vidal wrote about that phenomenon.) And this gives one pause. How much do we really know about anything? Even now in this age of information. Perhaps especially now since overload can lead to a kind of Babel effect.
That's one reason it doesn't hurt to revisit these events on their anniversary dates. What you'll find in the slides below is a clip of Dr. King reading his famous letter and also others reading it. Why today? King drafted the letter on April 14, 1963, two days after his arrest in Birmingham, but it was on May 19 that the it was published in the New York Post Sunday Magazine. It is one of the most anthologized pieces of the Civil Rights Movement and bears revisited scrutiny extremely well. Included in the slides below are the usual fact pieces you can access by clicking the hyperlink on each slide in case you want to drill into the material a bit.
For Oscar Wilde, you'll find background on the alleged crime that led to his sentencing (which is also covered in a previous blog of mine with different clips) and a video dramatization of Wilde's second year in jail, along with his advice regarding life.
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