The nation stood still when the news of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. hit the public. He was a lead activist of American Civil Rights Movement during the 1960's. Martin Luther King Jr. preached words of peace and called for understanding among all races. He was more than just a preacher from Georgia but an icon of hope for many African American communities and was well known all over the county. When Martin Luther King was assassinated a blanket of grief stretched across the nation. It became clear that the assassination did more than just kill one person; it wounded the entire country and would change it forever.
Nearly thirteen hundred African American sanitation workers in Memphis Tennessee went on strike in February 1968. There had been a long history of problems but what "broke the camel's back" so to say was that earlier in the year twenty two African American sanitation worker were sent home without pay while other Caucasian worker were allowed to say and work. It was simply unfair. (Posner) The city refused to negotiate with the black workers. The workers contacted Dr. King and other Civil Rights activists to come and speak on their behalf. Martin and his fellow activists and protesters went down into Memphis to speak at Mason Temple church to speak to a large crowd of about fifteen thousand but while they march and protested the crowd became boisterous and a riot began. (Abernathy) Martin Luther King became very distressed with violent scene that broke out but being the nonviolent activist that he was determined to prove his point. He left but rescheduled another protest on April the eighth.
Apparently Martin Luther King arrived to back to Tennessee early. On April 4, 1968 a single shot fired from about 50-100 yards away struck Dr. King on the 2nd floor balcony at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. The shot left a gaping hole that covered a large part of his face and neck. King lay there on the ground surround by his fellow friends, Ralph Abernathy, Jesse Jackson, Hosea Williams, and Andrew Young. Within fifteen minutes of the shot, Martin Luther King arrived at St. Joseph's Hospital. (Posner) He had been hit by a .30-06 caliber rifle bullet that had entered his right jaw, and then traveled through his neck, severing his spinal cord, and stopped in his shoulder blade. (Posner). The doctors attempted an emergency surgery but shot was fatal. Martin Luther King, Jr. was pronounced dead by the doctors at the hospital at 7:05 p.m.(Abernathy) The activist that dedicated thirteen years of his life to non violent protesting for equality had be slain by a snipers bullet.
At the crime scene the FBI investigators put out a search for a White Mustang that was seen speeding away from the crime scene shortly after the shot was fired and a description of a, 36 years old, white male, 5 feet, 8 inches tall, 150 to 160 pounds, black or dark brown hair. (Waldron). Many eyewitnesses say that they saw man running away from a nearby building after the shot. There also was a package that was found. Shortly after the murder, a package was dropped near the door of Canipe's Amusement Co. near the assassination scene. Memphis police officers searched the package and found it to contain a .30-06 rifle along with ammunition and a pair of binoculars (Marywell).
The news spread around the world the very quickly. The media, although no television