The Death of Martin Luther King Jr

Martin Luther King
January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968“I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land.”

When I was in Atlanta a couple of years ago, I went to that God awful Gone With the Wind museum that I rant on andon about in the Margaret Mitchell story. Shortly after leaving that place, my friend and I walked thru the most scarysection of Atlanta (I’m originally from Detroit – I’m entitled to this opinion) to get tothebirthplace of Martin Luther King Junior. 

He was born in this house, on January 15th,1929.

During his life, which is well documented elsewhere – he did many amazing and brave things for all people. He wasan inspiration, and had balls of steel.

On April 3rd  1968, King was in Memphis, Tennessee. There was a sanitationworker’s strike andKing gave what would be his last speech:

“We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn’t matter with me now. Because I have been to themountaintop. And I don’t mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now.

I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen thepromised land.

I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people will get to the promised land.And I’m not fearing any man.

       Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”

While in Memphis, King was staying in the LorraineHotel, in room 306. 

They let us peek into a window to see inside the room, lovingly restored to the way it would have looked in 1968- complete with dirty coffee mugs. They didn’t let us take pictures, but they did sell thesephotographs.

Shortly after 6 p.m. the next day, the 4th,  King and a few other men stepped out onto the balconyoutside room 306.


He leaned over the railing to speak to his associate Jesse Jackson (ugh), who was standingbelow in the parking lot with musician Ben Branch, who was going to perform at a rally that evening. Jacksonintroduced Branch to Dr. King, and King said, “Yes, that’s my man!” That’s when the single bullet froma Remington pump action rifle tore into King’s neck. His necktie was torn off from the blast. King’s friendsheard the direction the bullet came from, and pointed in that direction. 

You can see that the men saw where the bullets came from, inthedirection they were pointing, at these buildings.

Meanwhile, Kinglies there.

King was rushed to St. Josephs Hospital in Memphis. 

He was taken into emergency surgery, but was pronounced dead at7:05 p.m.

The sane people of the world went into mourning. Others were angry and started riots, quickly calmed byannouncements from Coretta Scott King.

On the 8th of April, King’s body lay in state at Sister’s Chapel, on the campus of Spellman College inAtlanta. A private funeral was held on the 9th at his father’s church, EbenezerBaptist Church. 

His body was takenon a mule cart pulled by two mules, obviously. 

100,000 black andwhite people followed the procession to the South View Cemetery, in Atlanta, where King was buried.

WARNING!  Deadpic.  Appreciation to Findadeath friend Joab Scott.

The mule cart was obviously symbolic for poor people, and being a humble man. Much like Diana POW and MotherTheresa’sgun carts symbolized, hey wait a second. What the hell did it symbolize?

New pal Darryl sends us this:  The mules are actually a symbol offreedom.  Each slave was given a mule and 40 acres when they were freed bythe Emancipation Proclamation.  You’ll also find that Spike Lee’s independentfilm company is called, “A Mule & 40 Acres”.  It’s arelatively strong symbol of freedom.

Lesson learned.  Thanks Darryl.

On January 12, 1970, King’s remains were exhumed and reburied in the Martin Luther King Memorial Center, just downthe street from his birth home. Now it’s called the Centerfor Non Violent Social Change

King’s grave is over the reflection pool, and his speeches playconstantly on the loud speakers.

Two months after King was shot, a man named James Earl Ray was arrestedin London. 

He was a loner, a bigot, andan ex con. Ray claimed he shot through an upstairs bathroom window in one of thesebuildings. 

He said he worked alone,but a lot of people think that Ray was only a small part of a much bigger issue. You can read all about it and anothertrial they did recently, if you click on this link. It’s so fascinating. Tell me what it says.

Ray was sentenced for 99 years, and inevitably died in prison in April of 1998. He was being treated in the MemorialHospital in Nashville at the time, for a liver disease. They were actually considering giving him another liver, whichwould be way generous of them, don’tcha think? But I tell you, if I was one of those surgeons, and my skin tone was a bitdark, you just don’t know how slippery those livers can be! Oh, and Ray’s brother is trying to get the gun back thathis brother used to off Martin.

There is now a plaque on the outside of the Lorraine hotel, which has turned into a civil rights museum. 

They havea bus that representsthe one Rosa Parks wouldn’t move off of, but I just read that the Henry Ford Museum bought that baby, so it will be ondisplay with JFK’s assassination vehicle. Cool.

March 2002, friend Nutty Nut Buster sends us anarticle about the bus.

Big snaps to Robert B. Dickerson, Jr, for his book FinalPlacement, where some of this information was acquired.

Trivia : I don’t know if this is true, but supposedly Martin Luther King paid the doctor bill forJulia Roberts’ birth. Roberts parents were destitute. King was killed 6 months after he helped bring our Julia to theworld.  Hereis documentation.  Thanks to friend Bill, for sending it along.

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