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"It established his reputation as the preeminent leader of the civil rights movement, whereas earlier his career had been in the doldrums," said Adam Fairclough, a historian at Leiden University who specializes in civil rights.

Another place of refuge for King during his Birmingham visits was the home of his brother, the Rev. King, who was pastor of First Baptist Church in Ensley from 1961 through 1965. King sometimes slept in a guest room at the parsonage at 721 12th St. in Ensley, which still stands.

King, whose national birthday celebration is Monday, may have been a prominent figure before the Birmingham campaign, but his Louis Vuitton Shoes Online

It's unclear when King first visited Birmingham, but he spent time in the city preaching at area churches long before the events of 1963.

One such place was the Center Street residence of John J. and Addine (Deenie) Drew in Smithfield.

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King's arrest and incarceration on April 12, 1963, which happened to be Good Friday that year, prompted his famous "Letter from Birmingham Jail" one of the most historic documents of the movement.

"There were considerable discussions here in this house about the plan of nonviolence and the planning of demonstrations and boycotts and sit ins," Drew said. "It was quite an inspiration."

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In Birmingham, King, along with the Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth and others, coordinated sit ins, boycotts, and mass jailings in a nonviolent campaign against racial bigotry and social injustice.

King's leadership and charismatic personality infused the civil rights campaign and motivated Birmingham residents to challenge segregationist laws in the city.

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"He was always being invited to preach in various places, and that included Birmingham," said Andrew Manis, a historian and professor at Macon State College in Georgia, who has written widely about the civil rights movement.

"This was a place of privacy where he could relax, he could have meetings, he could eat, and be out of the public limelight," recalled Jeff Drew, who grew up in the company of King, known as "Uncle Mike" to the Drew family. "Martin loved it, and we loved it, Lacoste Carnaby Womens

"We heard men like Dr. King . . . we heard dynamic preachers, and they were talking directly to us," says James W. Stewart in "Foot Soldiers for Democracy; The Men, Women, and Children of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement."

"Letter from Birmingham Jail," according to Taylor Branch, in "Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954 63," "by degrees . established a kind of universal voice, beyond time, beyond race."

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Martin Luther King Jr. would find private homes at which he could relax and reflect while in Birmingham.

visits and work in this city during the civil rights movement catapulted him to icon status.

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It was not unusual to come home from school and find King in the house, recalled Drew, now 60.

Written in response to a group of white clergy who were sympathetic to the cause but believed that the end of segregation should be pursued only in the courts, the letter eloquently stated why blacks had to continue the demonstrations until they had equal rights.

too. He was a funny and warm person to us kids and as well as to the adults."

Stewart had attended several mass meetings as a 16 year old in 1963. "They were telling us that it's our responsibility, it is up Louis Vuitton Heels Black And Red

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