Letters from Prison

Martin Luther King Jr. looks out the window of his cell at the Birmingham City Jail. The photo was taken by the Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker in October 1967, when both leaders served time in the Jefferson County Jail in Birmingham. (UPI)

When she saw many references to MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” on social media recently,  Anne K. Knafl, Bibliographer for Religion, Philosophy, and Jewish Studies at the University of Chicago Library, compiled the following sources of that transcendent letter as well as other letters from prison. We thought our readers might enjoy having these resources as well. 

Hover over the text for the hyperlink. 

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. “Letter from A Birmingham Jail draft,” Albert Burton Boutwell Papers, 1949-1967, Collection Number 264, Archives Department, Birmingham Public Library, Alabama. Published, print versions are available at the University of Chicago here.
  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Prisoner for God: Letters and Papers from Prison, edited by Ebehard Bethge, translated by Reginald H. Fuller. (New York: Macmillianm 1966).
  • “Prison Interviews with Angela Y. Davis”, on www.versobooks.com, excerpted from If They Come In the Morning…: Voices of Resistance. (New York, NY: Third Press, 1971
  • Oscar Wilde, De profunis. 2nd edition. London: Methuen, 1905. (T. and A. Constable) From HathiTrust.
  • Reflections in prison: voices from the South African liberation struggle. Edited by Mac Maharaj (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 2002). Print copy from our collection.
  • The Prisons Foundation: open access distribution of creative works by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated men and women.