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January 17, 2011:

The 25th Anniversary of

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

an Exhibition

January 14, 2011 - February 28, 2011

curated by
Evan Echols

Martin Luther King, C. T. Vivian, Faith Ringgold, Curlee Raven Holton, Michael Bixler, and Winifred Bixler.
Letter from Birmingham City Jail. New York: Limited Editions Club. 2007.

This version of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail is a limited edition that features eight serigraph prints created by artist Faith Ringgold. The inspirational text of King’s letter is interspersed with Ringgold’s unique and colorful illustrations. Ringgold’s serigraphs depict examples of key issues that prompted the necessity of the Civil Rights movement and highlight significant events of the Civil Rights movement, commented on by King in the letter.

King’s letter was written on April 16, 1963, while being held in the Birmingham, Alabama, city jail for his involvement in the Birmingham Campaign, which was a nonviolent protest against racial segregation in the city. The letter was written as a response to the condemnation of civil disobedience tactics by several local white clergymen who urged that the black population wait and address their grievances through legal means. King presented a point-by-point refutation of their arguments and insisted that immediate and direct action was required in order to overcome the injustice being perpetrated throughout the American South.

Faith Ringgold, an acclaimed artist and author, began her artistic career more than 40 years ago as a painter and is best known today for her painted story quilts—art that combines printing, quilted fabric, and storytelling. She was a tenured professor in the visual art department at the University of California at San Diego for seventeen years until her retirement in 2002 and has served as an artist—in—residence at Lafayette’s Experimental Printmaking Institute. Ringgold’s first book, Tar Beach, was a Caldecott Honor Book and winner of the Coretta Scott King Award for illustration. She has written and illustrated more than a dozen children’s books in addition to books for an adult audience.

After this edition was published, Ringgold wrote, "It is 2007 and I have just completed a series of 8 serigraphs for publication of Martin Luther King's Letter From Birmingham City Jail, in which he masterfully details our struggle for freedom for which he paid with his life. The 1960s, the majestic words of freedom and peaceful solutions to The Struggle in America are all quite unimaginable without the presence of Martin Luther King Jr. A tribute I feel honored to create."

Proclamation 5431, Martin Luther King Jr. Day

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