MLK Jr.’s Death Remembered 45 Years Later

MLK Jr.’s death was remembered across the country on Thursday — the 45th anniversary of the tragic event. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Nobel Peace Prize-winning civil rights leader, was assassinated on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.

The civil rights activist’s death was remembered across the United States on Thursday. In Atlanta, Georgia, the King Center announced it would honor its namesake by kicking off “The 50 Days of Nonviolence.”

The campaign is meant to challenge youth to abstain from violence through the rest of the school year. Bernice King, MLK Jr.’s daughter and the chief executive officer of the King Center, stated:

“As my father said, ‘The choice is no longer between violence and nonviolence. It is either nonviolence or nonexistence.’ We believe young people have a leadership role to play in creating a nonviolent society.”

Bernice King is also set to speak outside the King Center at 7:01 pm EDT — the same time her father was shot to death by white supremacist and convict James Earl Ray.

MLK Jr.’s death, like his life, was very influential in the fight for civil rights in America. The Nobel Peace Prize winner rose to prominence in the movement after he led the Montgomery bus boycott, which started in December 1955. King won the Nobel Peace Price in 1964 and was best known for advocating nonviolence, racial brotherhood, and equal rights.

Martin Luther King Jr. traveled to Memphis to support the strike of sanitation workers. They were protesting unfair working conditions and low pay. The activist was shot to death by Ray while standing on a balcony outside his room at the Loraine Hotel. The hotel is now the site of the National Civil Rights Museum.


Some of the sanitation workers who went on strike in 1968 are expected to commemorate the civil right’s leader’s death outside the same hotel where King was killed. The ceremonies will be led by AFSCME President Lee Saunders. Saunders became the first African American to lead the 1.6-million member union last year.

Barbara Andrews, director of education for the National Civil Rights Museum, added of MLK Jr.’s death, “It’s been 45 years since the assassination, and it’s been 45 years that the country’s struggle has continued for equality and freedom.”

Members of the AFSCME are expected to march from the local union office to the museum. Martin Luther King III is expected to speak at the rally.

[Image via Dick DeMarsico]