On this day in 1968, American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee where he had gone for a rally. His life’s work was demanding and protesting that black Americans have equal rights with the whites. This was the speech he gave a few hours before he was shot dead. He was only 39 years old. #MLK
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On the morning of April 4 1968, American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr was standing on the balcony of the hotel he was staying in the city of Memphis. A shot rang out from an adjacent building and hit the clergyman in the face, knocking him down immediately. Almost exactly sixty minutes later, he died at a nearby hospital. He was 39 years old.
His life work had been agitating for justice and equality for African-Americans in that country, especially in the highly segregated south. At a time when black people in America were regarded as inferior, Martin Luther King repeatedly protested segregation. He organized marches and civil disobedience to force the government to act. One of his famous speeches was ‘I Have A Dream’ which spoke of his desire to see a united country, one in which ‘the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.’
But it was his speech in Memphis that would be his last. He was in the city to support black sanitary workers who were on strike. There was a bomb threat before he flew into the city but he defied it and went on to give his last public speech.
The end of the speech addressed the concerns people had about him being attacked.
‘Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop. 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 the Promised 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. So I’m happy, tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!’
He was killed a few hours later.
Watch the full video here.
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