Dr. Martin Luther King’s

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Dr. Martin Luther King’s Funeral and Assassination

Word spread like wildfire when the news of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination hit the public. As the leading civil rights activist in the 1960s, Martin Luther King Jr. preached words of peace and understanding among races. A well known name throughout the North and South, King gained extreme popularity within the African American community. When Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated a wave of sorrow spread across the nation. With rage, sadness, and hopelessness in the public eye, clearly the assassination hurt more than just one man, it hurt a nation.

A single shot killed 39-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968. At the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, a sniper from about “50-100 yards away,” shot and struck Dr. King’s neck, while instantaneously killing him (“Martin Luther King Slain” 139). From the crime scene, F.B.I. investigators traced a “white Mustang automobile,” and an “‘unusually large’ amount of physical evidence” (Waldron 1). With fingerprints, the actual rifle, and eyewitnesses as definite pieces of evidence, F.B.I. agents concluded that a Caucasian man executed the assassination and that he would be very easily caught (Waldron 1). Eyewitness testimony even stated that the “saw a white man [ran] from the house immediately after the shooting” (“Martin Luther King Slain” 140). As a shocking and horrific event, the assassination of Dr. King proved to test the nation’s character.

Shortly after the news of Martin Luther King’s assassination spread, “sporadic violence erupted in Harlem and Brooklyn’s . . . section . . . in two predominantly Negro communities” (Johnson 1). With a total of twelve men arrested and violence breaking out all around the section, “police reinforcements, including elements of the riot-trained Tactical Patrol Force, were rushed into both communities” (Johnson 1). Screaming “Brothers, Unite!” in the crowd, many African Americans chaotically trashed



Cited: “Abernathy Leads Rites Tomorrow: To Conduct 2 Services for Dr. King in Atlanta.” New York Times 8 Apr. 1968: 33. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times. Library Gateway, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. 11 Apr. 2004 Faber, Doris Gould, Jack. “Methods of Covering King Slaying Vary Widely.” New York Times 6 Apr. 1968: 79. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times. Library Gateway, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. 11 Apr. 2004 Gould, Jack Lukas, Anthony. “Atlanta Is Peaceful During the Funeral.” New York Times 10 Apr. 1968: 1-2. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times. Library Gateway, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. 11 Apr. 2004 “Martin Luther King Slain.” Facts on File 139-142. Martin Luther King Jr.. New York: Praeger, 1989. “Nation To Pause To Honor Dr. King: Schools, Banks, Stores, and Plants Closing Today.” New York Times 9 Apr. 1968: 35. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times. Library Gateway, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. 11 Apr. 2004 “Networks Will Cover Services for Dr Posner, Gerald L.. Killing the Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.. New York: Random House, 1998. Ripley, Anthony. “50,000 Expected for Funeral of Dr. King in Atlanta Today.” New York Times 9 Apr. 1968: 1-2. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times. Library Gateway, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. 11 Apr. 2004 Ripley, Anthony Waldron, Martin. “Clark Is Sure Killer Will Soon Be Seized.” New York Times 6 Apr. 1968: 1-2. ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times. Library Gateway, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. 11 Apr. 2004

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