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