Last Updated on September 16, 2022
When Was Martin Luther King Died? The infamous assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King is an important event in American history. Learn about his life, the significance of his assassination, and the obsession over James Earl Ray. In addition, learn about the man’s legacy and the racial equality movement he championed. Here are some historical facts about the infamous assassination.
Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy
During his lifetime, Dr. Martin Luther King had a long list of accomplishments and a long list of contradictions. While he led the civil rights movement, he also advocated interracial cooperation and nonviolent protest. These approaches allowed him to effectively fight Southern legalized racial segregation, but they did not prove to be sufficient to address the nation’s racial and economic challenges.
He believed in the obligation of each and every human being to fight for justice and equality for all people, and was willing to sacrifice his own life to accomplish it. His message has never been more relevant than it is today, and his legacy lives on today. With his message of brotherhood and justice, Dr. King has inspired many generations to make the world a better place. His exemplary legacy will inspire millions of people to act on that belief.
As a civil rights activist and Baptist minister, Martin Luther King Jr. became America’s most well-known civil rights leader from 1955 until 1968. But what exactly was the significance of the assassination? And what can we learn from King’s death? Let’s find out! Below are some interesting facts about King. But before we begin, let’s first get an overview of the man himself.
During the Civil Rights Movement, King was a vocal opponent of the Vietnam War. He was also widely hated and was murdered on several occasions. Newspapers bashed him and his followers, and the FBI tapped his phone. Despite his fame and his mission, King had a disapproval rating of two-thirds, which is incongruous with the sanctity of his speech “I have a dream.”
His vision for racial equality
Although we’ve come a long way from King’s time on the Civil Rights Movement, his racial equality vision still does not seem to have been fully realized. The United States has become more racially diverse since his death, but it has made little progress toward economic justice. In fact, inequality in America is at an all-time high, with the labor movement representing only 7 percent of the private sector.
The United States government has a long way to go in realizing King’s vision for racial equity. President Barack Obama has signed the Civil Rights Act, which would guarantee that businesses employ people who are unable to get a college degree. Moreover, he has also proposed that businesses hire people with limited education and provide them with work training. These proposals are just a beginning, but a lot remains to be done.
His obsession with James Earl Ray
Some claim that the King family’s obsession with James Earl Ray was responsible for King’s murder. However, others say that a conspiracy theory is to blame. In 1978, the House Select Committee on Assassinations dropped a minor bombshell on the King case. They concluded that there had been a conspiracy to murder King, but it was probably between Ray and his brothers. In the meantime, some say that the King family’s obsession with Ray is not all that it’s cracked up to be.
Ray denied all charges and maintained his innocence for most of his life. He also refused to answer questions about his crimes, leading to speculations. Some believed that Ray was obsessed with race because he was preparing to flee to Rhodesia, a country of white minority rule at the time. This, however, was not true. In fact, the King family’s obsession with Ray is the most likely reason for the shooting.
His death as a test of non-violence
Critics of the anti-racism movement often overlook the fact that the late Martin Luther King Jr. himself had an arsenal of guns. In fact, the abolition of poll taxes and the Vietnam War were among the many victories of King’s nonviolent protests. However, his nonviolent rhetoric was overshadowed by his own gun ownership. The fact is that nonviolent resistance to white supremacists did not entail abandoning self-defense or complete conversion to pacifism. The non-violent protests did not bind future activists to nonviolence.
The non-violent armies seized the initiative when attacked. They sought out weak spots in their opponents’ defense and self-confidence. They planned massive “Poor People’s Campaigns” to occupy the nation’s capital, in which King’s mission was to force Congress to end housing discrimination and provide education to the multiracial “underclass.”
The legacy of Martin Luther King is still under assault today, nearly 30 years after his assassination. As his widow and heirs fight over the murder of their beloved leader, a new battle is brewing: whether the justice system erred in convicting James Earl Ray of the crime, or if the legacy of King has been diluted in the process. The King family maintains that the truth is in the middle and that history has forgotten the real Martin Luther King, the left-wing activist and integrationist preacher.
King was active in the Poor People’s Campaign months before his assassination, which was a movement that was aimed at alleviating poverty. During his speech in Memphis, he condemned the Vietnam War and advocated for limited citizenship for the oppressed. While on tour in Europe, he also promoted social-democratic governments. His legacy was shaped by his activism. He also worked to end racism in the U.S. government and to end racial and class segregation.
James Earl Ray’s claim
Many have questioned James Earl Ray’s involvement in the assassination of Dr. King. Ray initially claimed to have been a part of the conspiracy but later changed his story and blamed Raoul for setting him up in Memphis. Then, in 1977, Ray was subjected to a polygraph test. Playboy magazine claimed that the results proved that he was the only person to shoot Dr. King. King’s family and supporters have been calling for Ray’s trial.
Eventually, the King family filed a civil suit in state court in Tennessee. Dr. Pepper represented the family and charged Loyd Jowers with conspiracy to kill Dr. King. The House Select Committee on Assassinations also conducted a jury trial and found no evidence to prove that Ray was responsible for the assassination. The trial testimony presented at that time will be discussed below. James Earl Ray’s claim that Martin Luther King died is a baffling case.
Coretta King’s reaction
While the public is often focused on King’s assassination, Coretta King’s involvement in the civil rights movement was largely unnoticed by most people. In fact, Coretta Scott King was a devoted social gospel activist before she met her husband in Boston. Coretta was a member of the Progressive Party and was active in the NAACP and pacifism, while her husband was enrolled in the Boston University School of Theology.
Coretta Scott King’s response to the news of King’s death is often overlooked, especially in light of the tragic circumstances of his passing. After all, King was no stranger to controversy. Even in his last days, Coretta expressed the desire to lie next to her husband. Then, in November 2006, a new mausoleum was built, housing the bodies of both King and Coretta. This mausoleum is the third resting place for King’s body.
His children’s reaction
Many of us will never know what the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. was like as a young boy, but the reaction of his children is worth examining. They have been privileged to witness the uplifting work of their father. Their father lived in Memphis and was as beloved as a son. Yet when he was murdered in 1968, they had little memory of him. His children’s reactions to his death are a tribute to the strength of the Reverend King’s legacy.
Despite their father’s adulation for his son, his children have been a somber witness to the civil rights movement. In the 1980s, Yolanda, Marty, Dexter, and Bernice joined the fight for social equality. Eventually, they moved to Ebenezer, the center that honors their father. In recent years, the center has grown into an eight-million-dollar complex next door. Its children are bonded to their father’s cause.
About The Author
Alison Sowle is the typical tv guru. With a social media evangelist background, she knows how to get her message out there. However, she's also an introvert at heart and loves nothing more than writing for hours on end. She's a passionate creator who takes great joy in learning about new cultures - especially when it comes to beer!