How MLK’s death affected a nation, as told by those who remember it

4 Apr

How MLK's death affected a nation, as told by those who remember it

Martin Luther King Jr. had traveled to Memphis, Tenn., in late March 1968 to lead a protest march in support of the city’s striking sanitation workers. Violence had followed, with police descending on the protesters with billy clubs, mace and tear gas.

The next week, King returned to get court permission for another march. Despite the death threats he had received, and the growing concern for his safety, King pressed to hold a nonviolent demonstration.

On the night of April 3, he delivered what became known as the “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, in which he said:

“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I have looked over, and I have 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!”

The events of the next day, April 4, 1968, would be seared into the memories of Americans for decades.

Folks at the Los Angeles Times have put together some memories and photographs about the assassination of King and its aftermath here.

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