Fifty years ago, eight Christian ministers requested that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. cease his civil rights demonstrations. His spirited response - widely known as the 'Letter from Birmingham Jail' - became a landmark moment of clarity in the pursuit for racial justice.  For the 50th anniversary, Christian leaders gathered in Birmingham, AL to present their formal response to King's letter to his daughter Dr. Bernice King.  

USCCB Vice President Archbishop Kurtz delivered remarks in response to speeches by Representative John Lewis and Sojourners President Jim Wallis.  The event was sponsored by Christian Churches Together.

Please enjoy the following resources and articles about the event. To read more about USCCB events with CCT, visit this page.

Resources for the Public

Read the full text of the CCT Response to "Letter from Birmingham Jail"

Use the CCT Catholic Study Guide to better understand the significance of this historic statement

Read the full remarks of Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, USCCB Vice President

Read the full remarks of Bishop Shelton Fabre, Auxiliary bishop of New Orleans

Download the program agenda and learn more about our partners on the CCT website


Related USCCB News releases

April 4, 2013

April 16, 2013


News coverage

The articles below are meant to be a representative sampling of the media response to this public event. 

Church leaders respond to King's Letter from Birmingham Jail, give copy to his daughter Bernice King (

Religious leaders mark 50th anniversary of famed King letter from jail (Catholic News Service)

Fifty years later church leaders respond to King’s Birmingham Jail Letter (Religion News Service)

Archbishop, other church leaders to commemorate famed ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ (Catholic Culture)

UCC minister for racial justice to remember King’s ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ (United Church of Christ web site)

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz to join clergy marking 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s Birmingham Letter

US church leaders to respond to Martin Luther King's Letter from Birmingham Jail
(Independent Catholic News)

Fifty years later: the churches' response to Dr. King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail" (The Wesleyan Church web site)