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Do you remember where you were on April 4, 1968 at 6:01 pm?

On Thursday, April 4, 1968, at 6:01 pm, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down while standing on the balcony outside of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, TN. Do you remember Where you were (and what you were doing) on the evening of April 4, 1968?

I was eight years old at the time,  and at 6:01 pm I was at home having dinner with my family when news of his death came to us by TV. My oldest brother was a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin. He had made it back to his dorm room just in time before angry riots about Dr. King’s assassination broke out across campus.

At age 8, I knew nothing about the hardships the Memphis sanitation workers were going through that brought Dr. King to Memphis. But what I do know was how quiet and still my family was for the rest of the evening as we listened to Walter Cronkite give graphic details about how he died and how Memphis policemen were frantically looking for his killer.

 

As I learned more about what happened to Dr. King, I felt as though the world was on fire, as news of his death sparked riots around our nation. Then to see Mrs. King just a few days later on TV dressed in black leading thousands of people in a funeral procession through the streets of Atlanta was very emotional and heart-wrenching for a child like me to watch.

Life Magazine, 1968January 15, 2012, was Dr. King’s 83rd birthday, and today the third Monday in January, is his official federal holiday! Its been a long time since I thought about where I was the day he died until I came on April 12, 1968, LIFE MAGAZINE (featured at the top of this post) that my father purchased for 35¢ featuring Dr. King and exclusive pictures about his death in Memphis. Once I picked myself up off the floor over this 108-page issue costing 35¢ in 1968, I was visually carried back in time to one of the saddest moments in American history, as well as how this young black Baptist preacher was a true change agent for freedom and justice for us all!

After Dr. King’s death he was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977, and the Congressional Gold Medal in 2004. But two of the best  honors of all came:

So, do you remember where you were on the evening of April 4, 1968, at 6:01 pm? If you do, share your moment in history with me!

  • I was a art major, senior at Wayne State University in Detroit.  I was walking across campus with my now husband when some friends told us what happened and offered me a ride home. I lived at home with my parents.  I remember going to school the next day and being in my printmaking class when my mother, who NEVER appeared in my classes, appeared in the room to tell me riots were breaking out, her school had closed (she was a teacher) and we left. We passed highschool students marching down West Grand Blvd. but no violence.  Either that night or the next I was taken to the airport before the curfew so that I could meet my sister who was coming in from Howard University where she was a sophmore. We spent the night at the airport hotel. This assassination coming after so many others was so depressing. I was 21.

    • Kristin, THANK YOU so much for sharing where you were and what you were doing the day Dr. King was assassinated. Yes you hit the nail right on the head when you said that his assassination and then Bobby Kennedy on June 5 that same year in Los Angeles was very depressing and why I felt as a child that the world around me was so on fire. Thankfully, there were no riots in the community where I lived in H-town during that time. If there were riots, I don’t remember any and I probably won’t remember because like you, I was blessed with protective parents who would have moved heaven and earth to keep us out of harms way. Again, thank you!

  • Kristin, THANK YOU so much for sharing where you were and what you were doing the day Dr. King was assassinated. Yes you hit the nail right on the head when you said that his assassination and then Bobby Kennedy on June 5 that same year in Los Angeles was very depressing and why I felt as a child that the world around me was so on fire. Thankfully, there were no riots in the community where I lived in H-town during that time. If there were riots, I don’t remember any and I probably won’t remember because like you, I was blessed with protective parents who would have moved heaven and earth to keep us out of harms way. Again, thank you!

  • Gpumphrey1915

    I was a freshman at Memphis State University.  We were in the dining room when announcement was made.  We were confined to the dorm until curfew was lifted the next morning.  Classes were cancelled.  I got a ride home to Little Rock with some fellow students.  You could see fires burning from the upper floors of the dorm.  Very frightening.

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