Remembering Martin Luther King’s Assassination

Forty-three years ago today, a valiant life was cut down on a motel balcony in Memphis.

The day before his death, the reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. had just finished marching with striking black garbage workers and helping them obtain the same rights and pay as their white counterparts. He also foresaw his demise when he delivered his prophetic, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech to a gathering at the Mason Temple (World Headquarters of the Church of God in Christ).

At 6:01pm, Dr. King stood on the second floor balcony of the Lorraine Motel. He was accompanied by other civil rights activists, including the reverend Ralph Abernathy and the reverend Jesse Jackson.

While standing on the motel’s second floor balcony, King was struck by a single .30 bullet fired from a Remington 760 Gamemaster.  The bullet entered through his right cheek, breaking his jaw, neck and several vertebrae as it traveled down, severing the jugular vein and major arteries in the process. Abernathy heard the shot from inside the motel room and ran to the balcony to find King on the floor.

Dr. King was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital, where doctors opened his chest and performed manual heart massage. He was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m.  Walter Cronkite delivered the news on the CBS Evening News.

The fatal shot was delivered by James Earl Ray, a white convicted felon.

Ray eluded capture for two months after King’s death. He was finally captured at London’s Heathrow Airport while trying to leave the United Kingdom for an undisclosed location, either Angola, Rhodesia or South Africa, on a false Canadian passport. Ray was quickly extradited to Tennessee and charged with King’s murder. He confessed to the assassination, plead guilty and was sentenced to 99 years in prison, although he recanted his confession three days later.

Upon hearing who killed Dr. King, race riots broke out in dozens of US cities. Hardest hit were Newark, NJ; Washington, DC (shown below); Baltimore, Louisville and Kansas City.

Today, Dr. King’s family remembered the 43rd anniversary of his murder.

Standing in front the crypt of Dr. King and his wife Coretta, members of the King Family laid a wreath, prayed and sang ‘We Shall Overcome.” King died in Memphis, Tennessee.

His son, Martin Luther King III says his father would have marched today against plans in Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio to reduce or eliminate collective bargaining rights.

“If he were with us, he would be very concerned that some Americans have chosen to dismantle workers’ rights,” said King III.

Dr. King responded to the so-called, “Right to Work for less” agenda that Republican lawmakers, to this day are implementing across the country.

“In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right-to-work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining.  We demand this fraud be stopped.”

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About smoothjazzandmore

I'm a TV producer and an Internet radio broadcaster. I also write for my blogs (An Op-Ed Blog and a Football Blog) here at WordPress.
This entry was posted in Assassination, Civil Rights Movement, Martin Luther King, Unions. Bookmark the permalink.

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