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On This Day… The Death Of Martin Luther King

Written by: George Chittenden : 27 Jul 2019

It was on this day, 4th April, back in 1968 when the American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was fatally shot. The shooting occurred at a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. It was just after 6pm and Martin Luther King was standing on a balcony when he was hit by a bullet in the jaw which severed his spinal cord. He was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital, but unfortunately, he was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m.

Despite the fact that King, a prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement, was known for his use of nonviolence, his death triggered riots in more than one-hundred American cities. It led to President Lyndon Johnson issuing a plea for citizens to reject the violence that had taken Dr King, a man who had lived by non-violence.

The killer was James Earl Ray, a fugitive from the Missouri State Penitentiary. He was arrested on June 8th, 1968 and charged with King’s murder. On March 10th, 1969, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 99 years in Tennessee State Penitentiary. James Earl Ray died in 1998, at the age of 70.

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