On January 15, Pastor Travis Norvell of Judson Memorial Baptist Church will lead people in the reading of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. January 15 is King’s birthday and one day prior to Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Everyone is invited to the reading.

Norvell started the tradition for a few reasons.

One, there was an obvious link between the park and honoring King.

Two, Norvell graduated from Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School. King graduated from Crozer Theological Seminary in 1951. Norvell said you could feel King’s presence everywhere in that school.

And three, the letter was addressed to white religious moderates so Norvell thought a public reading with mainly white Christians would be a good practice.

“Every time I read the letter it kicks me in the shin,” Norvell said.

Pastor Travis Norvell

Copies of the letter, formatted for a public reading, will be available at the reading. Norvell asks people to dress appropriately and bring a mug–hot chocolate will be provided. It takes about an hour to read the entire letter aloud. People will gather at 41st Street and Nicollet Avenue from 7 - 8:15 a.m on Sunday.