1968 April 4

Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., is Assassinated


The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated on this day in Memphis, Tennessee, while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel. Dr. King had been in Memphis to support African-American sanitary public works employees, who had been on strike since March 12 for higher wages and better treatment. Among his many accomplishments during his crusade for civil rights, perhaps the high point was his famous “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington on August 28, 1963.

The law making his birthday a national holiday was enacted on November 2, 1983.

Read King’s Speech from the night before, “I Have Been to the Mountain Top”:

Read Taylor Branch’s monumental three-volume biography, America in the King Years: Parting the Waters (1988); Pillar of Fire (1998); At Canaan’s Edge (2006)

Read About the Assassination: Hampton Sides, Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the International Hunt for His Assassin (2010)

Visit the Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel: http://www.civilrightsmuseum.org/

Visit the Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, DC: http://www.nps.gov/mlkm/index.htm

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