National History: The Assassination of MLK

Dr. Martian Luther King Jr

On April 4th, 1968, Dr. Martian Luther King Jr was fatally shot while on his balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. King was in Memphis in support of African American city sanitation workers after unequal wages, poor treatment and finally the deaths of two workers caused a strike.

A clergyman and prominent leader in the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King was a Nobel Peace Prize laureate (recipient), known for his use of nonviolence and civil disobedience.

Dr. King was nearly fatally stabbed in 1958 and had constant death threats made against him, including a bomb threat made against the plane he planned to fly to Memphis on.

On April 3rd he gave his last public address, later known as the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" address, part of which was as follows:

"Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you... But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land! And so I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!"