Press Release - Detail
Roy L. Williams            
Director of Public Relations        
Birmingham Public Library             
Phone: (205) 226-3746 cell (205) 568-0067            
personal cell (205)572-1359

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"Putting People First"
For immediate release Tuesday, April 3, 2018
Birmingham Public Library gains worldwide attention for its MLK, civil rights archives

 BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—As the nation pauses on Wednesday, April 4, 2018, to mark the 50th anniversary of the assassination of civil rights icon Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Birmingham Public Library (BPL) has been busy helping researchers paying tribute to the legacy of the man who led the 1960s civil rights movement in Birmingham that gained worldwide attention. 
In addition to researchers from the Birmingham area and other parts of Alabama, BPL’s Archives served researchers in 2017 from 26 states (from New York to California, Florida to Washington) and Canada, England, Ireland, Japan, Malaysia, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland, said Jim Baggett, Department head of BPL’s Archives Department. BPL’s Archives preserves thousands of historic documents relating to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s life and work, including early versions of "The Letter from Birmingham Jail," Birmingham police reports on King's appearances at civil rights mass meetings, the city jail docket showing King's 1963 arrest for leading civil rights demonstrations, and a rare copy of King's funeral program.

“During the year, our researchers used 75,534 archival files, scrapbooks, ledgers, dockets, photographs, maps, architectural drawings, and other items from the collection,” Baggett said.
Twelve new books researched in the Archives were published in 2017.”
That raises the total to more than 400 books researched in BPL Archives, including five recipients of the Pulitzer Prize, as well as five documentary films and three museum exhibits. Two Pulitzer Prize winning biographies of King - David Garrow's "Bearing the Cross" and Taylor Branch's "Parting on the Waters" - were researched in the BPL Archives, Baggett said. During a talk at BPL shortly after the publication of "Parting on the Waters," Branch said, "I could not have written this book without the collections in the Birmingham Public Library Archives."
 If you 

For additional information about the programs and services of the Birmingham Public Library, visit our website at and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter @BPL. The mission of Birmingham Public Library is to provide the highest quality library experience to our community for life-long learning, cultural enrichment, and enjoyment. This system—with 19 locations and serving the community for over 130 years—is one of the largest library systems in 
the Southeast.
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