An assassin snuffed out Dr. King’s life on April 4, 1968, while he led a strike of 1,300 black sanitation workers – the working poor of their day – to demand the right to have a union.
Many whites in Memphis, calling him a communist and racial agitator, said they were glad he was dead.
In this frightening atmosphere, Mrs. King and three of her children led some 20,000 marchers through the streets of Memphis on April 8, holding signs that read, “Honor King: End Racism,” “Union Justice Now,” or, simply, “I Am A Man.” National Guardsmen lined the streets, perched on M-48 tanks, bayonets mounted, as helicopters circled overhead. She led another 150,000 in a funeral procession through the streets of Atlanta the next day.
Her quiet courage and composed demeanor renewed people’s sense of pride, courage and respect for the peaceful principles the civil-rights movement stood for. In the wake of King’s death, riots spread to 125 cities, leading to the deaths of 43 and arrests of more than 20,000 people, with the deployment of 60,000 National Guardsmen to suppress the rebellion – the largest military intervention in domestic affairs since the Civil War.
Source: Michael Honey/Seattle Times (April 2nd, 2006) Added by: Colin Harris
Front page of The Washington Post on April 7, 1968, three days after the assassination of Martin Luther King
On April 4, 1968, the famed African-American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated as he stood on a balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. James Earl Ray was arrested and charged with the assassination, and died in prison in 1998.
Immediately after his death, angry riots exploded in more than 100 cities across the United States, with the worst violence occurring in cities such as Baltimore, Washington D.C., Chicago and Kansas City. The rioting became so bad that President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered the Army and National Guard deployed. In the end, more than 20,000 people were arrested and 43 people had died.
The riots revived the Civil Rights Act of 1968, which banned discrimination in the sale of housing on the basis of race, religion, nationality and, in a later provision, sex.
The riots of 1968 were not the first nor the last widespread rioting experienced in the USA. The previous year had seen outbreaks of riots all across the country in what was known as the ‘long, hot summer of 1967’, caused by longstanding racial tensions and the convulsions of the Civil Rights Movement. Those same tensions would reoccur – most notably wit the Rodney King Riots in Los Angeles in 1992 and the George Floyd protests in 2020.
1968-04-04 Riots break out in over 100 cities in the United States following the assassination of African-American civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr
AP Was There: The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
from April 4, 2018
Martin Luther King Jr., second right, and SCLC aides Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson Jr., from left, and Ralph Abernathy return to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis to strategize for the second Sanitation Worker’s march led by King in this April 3, 1968 file photo.
King was shot dead on the balcony April 4, 1968. AP Photo/File
On March 24th 2022, 14 year old Tyre Sampson originally being from St Louis, MO went with friends and an adult Chaperone to Icon Park while vacationing in FL on a Football program. Tyre and his friends would go on a ride called the “Free Fall” where the ride attendant/operators would display gross negligence leading young Tyre to Fall to his death. When we go to places like amusement parks and such we expect to be safe. We expect for the people in charge of operating these rides to make sure that we make it off the ride to talk about it. This Video has gone viral and now his family has to watch as the ICON PARK staff carelessly started a ride going 430 feet into the air without their beloved Tyre being properly secured in the seat. He fell to his death coming down at 75MPH because of Gross Negligence. Stand with Tyre Sampson , his Family & Friends and call for charges to be brought on the Icon Park Staff members responsible for his death!