I have taught Dr. Martin Luther King’s Letter From Birmingham Jail to high school students at least a dozen times. For context, I have shown students the advertisement in the Birmingham paper that criticizes his work as an “outsider.” Dr. King’s letter is a response to that criticism of his work.
But for some reason, I never before “got” the compelling detail that MLK was jailed on Good Friday and spent Easter Sunday in jail as well. I knew that he was leading a protest against segregated department stores, and I knew he targeted the protest for the Easter holiday because that is one of the holidays when people spend the most money. Such a protest would have more of an economic impact on the store owners. But somehow, I never thought about MLK sitting in a jail cell on Easter.
How I learned about this: I happened to be in the CA library and I picked up a copy of 50 American Heroes Every Kid Should Meet. In its description of why Dr. King is a hero, it noted that “Dr. King was arrested on Good Friday, 1963. He spent one of the Christian world’s major holy days, Easter Sunday, alone in a jail cell. There he wrote a famous letter…”
I knew the letter part before, and now my future students will know more of the context.