To mark the 10th anniversary of the MLK Symposium, the Dallas Institute has commissioned the creation of an original stage play based on Dr. King’s powerful “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” which he wrote surreptitiously while behind bars in Birmingham in the summer of 1963, the most explosive period and the turning point of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
In the play, The 67th Book of the Bible, it's April 1963 in Birmingham, Alabama. Martin Luther King Jr. is in jail urgently writing what will become his iconic "Letter from Birmingham Jail." He writes his letter on newspaper scraps, jailhouse toilet paper and anything he can find. The scraps are smuggled out of King’s jail cell and delivered to King’s Chief of Staff, Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker.
The 67th Book of the Bible tells the story of the creation of the letter, but it is told from the perspective of Wyatt and his secretary, Willie Pearl. Together they have the long and frustrating assignment of deciphering King’s feverish writings. Wyatt knows the letter could be the only chance to resurrect a dying movement and he promised King he would complete the task. But Wyatt’s steely determination to keep his promise to King threatens to drive away the one person he needs most to complete the task – Willie Pearl.
The 67th Book of the Bible shines a light on the first two people ever to encounter Dr. King’s prophetic letter, and their determination not to be the last.