advocacy

SCLC president Martin Luther King, Jr. fatally shot in Memphis, Tennessee

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Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) president Martin Luther King, Jr. has died. He was 39.

On March 29, 1968, King went to Memphis, Tennessee, United States and stayed in a room on the second floor of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The civil rights activist and Baptist minister was expected to participate in a march on April 8, 2021 on behalf of protesting black sanitation workers in Memphis.

On April 4, 1968, King was supposed to have dinner at the home of Memphis minister Samuel “Billy” Kyles. At 6:05 p.m. that night, while preparing to leave the Lorraine Motel, he stepped out onto the balcony of his room to speak with his SCLC colleagues who were standing in the parking area below.

That was when a single shot was fired, hitting the lower right side of King’s face. His SCLC colleagues rushed to him and he was sent to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Memphis.

At 7:05 p.m., King died at the hospital. Details about his shooter are still not available.

Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

On January 10, 1957, King became the president of the SCLC. He was the first person to hold the position.

On August 28, 1963, King delivered a public speech titled “I Have a Dream” from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., USA as the final speaker during a march attended by more than 250,000 people. Organized by A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin, the march was meant to advocate for the civil and economic rights of black Americans. 

On October 14, 1964, King won the Nobel Peace Prize for his influential use of nonviolent resistance to fight racial inequality. He helped organize two of the three marches from Selma, Alabama, USA to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965, which were meant to demonstrate the black Americans’ desire to exercise their constitutional right to vote.

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King is the older brother of Alfred Daniel Williams King. Their older sister Willie Christine King Farris married Newton Farris, Sr. in 1960.

Martin was born Michael King Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia, USA to Michael King Jr. and Alberta Williams King. In 1934, the father changed his and his son’s names to Martin Luther King, Sr. and Martin Luther King, Jr., respectively.

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