January 22, 2020

“Letter From Birmingham Jail” 


On Monday of this week we celebrated the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday with speeches, parades, community service, and other events designed to honor his legacy and that of others in the fight for civil justice.  It is our hope that you celebrated these legacies in some fashion other than simply “taking a day off”.  Our communities and their members are still in need of service; so, find a way to make time to give back for them and for those who paid it forward for us.  

In addition to service projects, this year I find myself drawn to Dr. King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail”.  Written while incarcerated initially on newspaper margins and paper scraps, this very lengthy letter was penned as a response to the religious leaders who in that same newspaper wrote that things were not so bad and that King’s non-violent methodology was causing more harm than good.  The following is a sobering challenge, among many that King offered in this now historic April 1963 letter:

“But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America's destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands.”

This amazing letter in its entirety can be found at this University of Pennsylvania’ African Studies Center web address:


Find time to read it.  Find time to reflect on your role in continuing the fight for justice and civil rights.  We must all take up the battle.  Certainly, AABHE is well positioned to continue the fight for education – the ultimate civil right. Continue to do good work,


  • AABHE 2020 National Conference Registration is NOW OPEN!!  Click here to register online now!

  • Check out the International Study Tour to Ethiopia and Dubai

  • AABHE cordially invites all members who register for our 2020 National Conference, in Charleston, SC, to promote and celebrate their book(s) during the Conference.  Join us for the AABHE Book Expo and Signing Friday, March 20, 2020.   Contact Dr. West at

  • AABHE invites your institution to participate in our Annual National College Fair. The goal of the fair is to introduce high school students in the Charleston area to higher education opportunities, as well as offer our undergraduate and professional attendees an opportunity to explore graduate degree options. Last year's fair held in Indianapolis featured 21 colleges from around the country! This year's fair will take place Thursday, March 19th, 2020 starting at 3 pm. Cost to register for the event is $100 per table. We would love for your institution to be a part of the AABHE 2020 
    College Fair.  For more info, please contact Dr. Wade at

“It’s all about the students”,

Dereck J. Rovaris, Sr
Dr. Dereck J. Rovaris, Sr.
President, AABHE

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