This Day in History-April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King, Jr. Murdered in Memphis

Civil rights leader Andrew Young (L) and others standing on balcony of Lorraine motel pointing in direction of assailant after assassination of civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who is lying at their feet. (Photo by Joseph Louw/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

Published April 4, 2018

MEMPHIS – The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered 50 years ago today in Memphis, Tennessee.  Dr. King was in Memphis to assist with sanitation workers strike against the city of Memphis. He was 39-years-old. Though only 39, Dr. King had a long history of leading the non-violence arm of the Civil Rights Movement.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. makes his last public appearance at the Mason Temple in Memphis, Tenn., on April 3, 1968. The following day King was assassinated on his motel balcony. (AP Photo/Charles Kelly)

In his effort to bring justice and equality for all Americans, Dr. King noted the gross mistreatment of American Indians in the United States, as he reflected on the origins of racism in America in his 1963 book, “Why We Can’t Wait:”

“Our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race. Even before there were large numbers of Negroes on our shores, the scar of racial hatred had already disfigured colonial society. From the sixteenth century forward, blood flowed in battles of racial supremacy. We are perhaps the only nation which tried as a matter of national policy to wipe its indigenous population. Moreover, we elevated that tragic experience into a noble crusade. Indeed, even today we have not permitted ourselves to reject or to feel remorse for this shameful episode. Our literature, our films, our drama, our folklore all exalt it.”

See Dr. King’s last speech the night before he was murdered:

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