"Africa is, indeed, coming into fashion." - Horace Walpole (1774)

4.04.2008

40 years...


"Memphis, Friday, April 5 - The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who preached nonviolence and racial brotherhood, was fatally shot here last night by a distant gunman who raced away and escaped. Four thousand National Guard troops were ordered into Memphis by Gov. Buford Ellington after the 39-year-old Nobel Prize-winning civil rights leader died.

"A curfew was imposed on the shocked city of 550,000 inhabitants, 40 percent of whom are Negro. But the police said the tragedy had been followed by incidents that included sporadic shooting, fires, bricks and bottles thrown at policemen, and looting that started in Negro districts and then spread over the city. … Dr. King had come back to Memphis Wednesday morning to organize support once again for 1,300 sanitation workers who have been striking since Lincoln's Birthday."

This morning's Memphis Commercial Appeal: "Not unlike the evening when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood in the pulpit 40 years ago to speak, gray clouds gathered outside Mason Temple threatening to storm on Thursday. On the stormy night of April 3, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his last public speech before an audience of more than 2,000 people at Mason Temple. With him was one of his aides, Jesse Jackson. 'He's bigger in death than he was in life,' Jackson said of King on Thursday night."

- New York Times, 1968

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