Today on April 4th 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. is tragically shot and killed while standing on his balcony at Lorraine Motel.
Martin Luther King Jr. was actually born as Michael King Jr. in Atlanta, Georgia. He began his career as a local Baptist minister and evolved into a civil-rights activist during the early 1950s. His leadership, activism and inspirational speeches played a critical role in ending the legal segregation of African-Americans across the country. He is perhaps best remembered for his “I have a Dream” speech which he delivered on August 28, 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC. King has now become a national revered hero across the United States. His birthday is celebrated as a national holiday every year on January 21 as MLK Day.
King rose to national prominence after becoming the first president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He was instrumental in promoting non-violent tactics as witnessed during the massive march on Washington in 1963. In 1964, he received the Nobel Peace Prize and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medal in 2004. King had a substantial impact on the creation of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. During the last years of his life, he expanded his interests to solving poverty and ending the Vietnam War.
In April 1968, he traveled to Memphis to support a local strike for black public works employees. His entourage had reserved Room 306 at the Lorraine Motel, somewhere they had stayed many times before. While standing on the balcony, he was suddenly shot and killed. The bullet entered through his jaw and severed his spinal cord. King was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital and passed away at the young age of 39. He left behind his wife, Coretta Scott, and their four children. Today, he is still remembered as one of the most influential African-American leaders in history.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase."