Something I just learned: Alabama and Mississippi combine Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a birthday celebration for confederate general Robert E. Lee. How crazy is that? But maybe this should not be surprising, since Mississippi governor Phil Bryant recently Tweeted at his constituents about how the state will descend into “a thousand years of darkness” if the state elects its first Black senator this November. Terrible.
Anyway, Mixed Magic Theatre commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. Day with its annual reading of Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham City Jail. (See what I wrote in 2019 and 2016.) Written in 1963, this call to action will be performed by Ricardo Pitts-Wiley with musical accompaniment by Kim Trusty. Earlier in the weekend, Pitts-Wiley’s son Jonathan will perform Dr. King’s Beyond Vietnam speech (1967) on Saturday and Sunday. This event is suitable for all ages.
More facts about the holiday: King was assassinated in 1968, and Ronald Reagan made King’s birthday (or the closest Monday) a national holiday in 1983. It was first officially celebrated in 1986, although some states (including New Hampshire) held out until the 1990s. In 2000, South Carolina became the last state to recognize the holiday as a paid day off for state employees, and that same year Utah became the last to attach King’s name to their “Civil Rights Day”.