WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Aspen Institute and Washington National Cathedral have announced a collaboration to present “The Legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘Letter from Birmingham City Jail.’” The program will feature US Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey, Yale Law professor Stephen L. Carter, American civil rights leader Julian Bond, and Washington National Cathedral’s dean, The Very Reverend Gary Hall, in conversation with Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson.

The event will take place on Monday, February 24, at 7:30 PM at the Cathedral. The panel will discuss the historical, cultural, theological, literary, and political significance of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham City Jail’ and reflect on how far American society has come and how much remains to be done.

Tickets ($15 adults; discounted rate for students) are available online at www.nationalcathedral.org or by calling the box office at (202) 537-2228. The event will be webcast live and will be accessible from the Cathedral’s homepage.

Press should RSVP to Meredith MacKenzie by emailing [email protected] or calling either (202) 427-2007 or (202) 776-7700.

About the Participants

Julian Bond

Julian Bond has been an activist in the civil rights, economic justice, and peace movements since his college years. In 1960, Bond helped found the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee and soon became its communications director. Bond served 20 years in the Georgia House and Georgia Senate, drafting more than 60 bills that became law. He was president of the Atlanta branch of the NAACP for 11 years and in 1998, was elected chair of the NAACP national board and served for 11 terms until stepping down in 2010. He was the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Bond received the Civil Liberties Union Bill of Rights Awards of Massachusetts and Georgia, and holds 25 honorary degrees. Time magazine named him as one of America’s top 200 leaders. A collection of Bond’s essays is published under the title A Time to Speak, A Time to Act.

Stephen L. Carter

Stephen L. Carter is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale University, where he has taught since 1982. A prolific writer who has published seven critically acclaimed nonfiction books including The Violence of Peace: America’s Wars in the Age of Obama. He, during the past nine years, has helped to shape the national debate on issues ranging from the role of religion in our politics and culture to the role of integrity and civility in our daily lives. His novel The Emperor of Ocean Park spent 11 weeks on the New York Times best seller list. His fifth novel, The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln, will be published this summer. He writes a regular column for Bloomberg and contributes frequently to The Daily Beast. Carter is a member of the American Law Institute, a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a trustee of the Aspen Institute.

Natasha Trethewey

Natasha Trethewey, the US Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry 2012–2014, is the author of four poetry collections and a book of creative non-fiction. Her honors include the Pulitzer Prize and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2012, she was appointed the State Poet Laureate of Mississippi. In 2010, Trethewey published Beyond Katrina: a Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (University of Georgia Press), a memoir that details the struggles of her family living in Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Trethewey’s other prizes include four Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Book Prizes, two Lillian Smith Book Awards for Poetry, and fellowships from the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study Center and the Bunting Fellowship Program of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Her collection Bellocq’s Ophelia was named a Notable Book for 2003 by the American Library Association. She was named the 2008 Georgia Woman of the Year and also received the 2008 Mississippi Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. In 2009 Trethewey was inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and in 2011 she was inducted into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame.

The Very Reverend Gary Hall

The Very Reverend Gary R. Hall, Ph.D., is the tenth dean of Washington National Cathedral. Before coming to the Cathedral in 2012, Dean Hall served in a variety of ecclesiastical and academic institutions. In the Church he has led parishes in California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. In the academy, he has served as dean, president and professor of Anglican Studies at Seabury–Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., and has also taught theology and polity at Yale Divinity School and the School of Theology at Claremont. Dean Hall has taught English and American Literature at UCLA; Oakwood School in North Hollywood, Calif.; and at the Cranbrook Schools in Bloomfield Hills, Mich. Dean Hall is co-editor of the essay collection Christian Holiness and Human Sexuality and the author of an essay in the forthcoming book, Looking Forward, Looking Backward: Forty Years of Women’s Ordination.

MODERATOR: Walter Isaacson

Walter Isaacson is president and CEO of the Aspen Institute and has been chairman and CEO of CNN and editor of TIME magazine. He is the author of the four biographies Steve Jobs, Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, and Kissinger and co-author of The Wise Men: Six Friends and the World They Made. Isaacson is chair emeritus of Teach for America and was appointed by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate as chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, a position he held until 2012.

Sponsoring Organizations

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org.

Washington National Cathedral is called to be the spiritual home for the nation. It seeks to be a catalyst for spiritual harmony in our nation, renewal in the churches, reconciliation among faiths, and compassion in our world. Learn more at www.nationalcathedral.org.

SOURCE: Washington National Cathedral