Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Today Marks the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Martin Luther King

by Nomad


Here's a look back at the news of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King as reported at the time.

First, early radio reports of the shooting.

A short time later, Walter Cronkite reported for CBS News.

ABC News

I remember the night that King was murdered. My parents had gone out that evening, leaving us kids alone at home. When the news broke, my older brother and sister raced around the house in a panic.
For some reason, I was under the impression that it had happened in our neighborhood and I was worried that whoever shot King was going to come and shoot us next. Pretty weird since I am white and we didn't live anywhere near Memphis.
There was the feeling that night that this assassination would spark a full-scale race war.

In a 2015 blog post, The Call for Non-Violence: A Night and a Day with RFK, we examined that night and the role Bobby Kennedy played in calming nerves of the African American community.
His words of consolation became one of his finest speeches.

I believe this was my first "historical" memory but not my last, then came Bobby Kennedy's murder and then came the moon landing a year later.
Not every Nomad is old enough to recall the event, of course. It must be hard to imagine the late 1960s if you didn't live through it. Our children will probably someday be saying that about the Trump era.

In the wider sense, King's main legacy went beyond race and the problems of that era. The lesson of his words and his sacrifice was to inspire generations of both white and black Americans. He taught us to expect better things and not to give up hope in the nation, no matter how unequal and unfair things are.
As he said:
"I criticize America because I love her. I want her to stand as a moral example to the world."
This is a common theme even today. You can hear it in speeches of the young African Americans today. You can hear in the words of the women who marched and the young people angry at gun violence.
King's legacy was a passionate desire for progress and justice.

Progress MLK quote