April 4

Martin Luther King, Jr.

April 4, 1968 - statewide

“Now he belongs to the ages.” That was said of Abraham Lincoln. It applies no less to Martin Luther King Jr.

King was planning a “Poor People’s March” on Washington in 1968 when he went to Memphis to help striking black sanitation workers.

The civil rights leader had broadened his approach, speaking out against poverty, unemployment, and the Vietnam War. He told an audience in a Memphis church, “I may not get there with you, but we as a people will get to the Promised Land.” Standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel the next day, he was shot by a sniper.

Cities across America exploded in riots and erupted in demonstrations, as civic leaders like Atlanta’s Mayor Ivan Allen, Jr. Pleaded for calm. James Earl Ray confessed and was convicted of the murder. Before his own death, he recanted his confession.

The Georgia native who lives in memory as one of the most important leaders in American history was murdered on April 4, 1968, Today in Georgia History.