Words which changed a generation of people’s thinking and started a revolution for African Americans.
Its been 50 years since Martin Luther King was assassinated as he stood on his hotel balcony.
King was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers’ strike, and Ester, a college student, had been marching alongside the strikers as they sought better pay and working conditions.
King’s death changed the world and altered the lives of those who lived through it. Some would spend the rest of their lives fighting for racial equality and economic justice.
King had won victories on desegregation and voting rights and had been planning his Poor People’s Campaign when he turned his attention to Memphis, the gritty city by the Mississippi River.
On February 1, 1968, two sanitation workers were crushed when a garbage truck compactor malfunctioned, sparking a strike by about 1300 black sanitation workers weary of horrible working conditions and racist treatment in the dirtiest of municipal jobs.
King tried to lead a peaceful march on March 28, but it turned violent. Storefront windows were smashed, and police wielded clubs and teargas.
King went back to Atlanta but vowed to return to show that nonviolent protest still worked. Criticism mounted in the press. He was suffering headaches and feeling depressed. He met with his advisers, the Rev. Jesse Jackson said, and “talked himself out of the depression.” He flew back to Memphis on the morning of April 3.
With little preparation, King delivered a speech that, in retrospect, seemed to foretell his death: “Well, I don’t know what will happen now; we’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter to me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.”
Later that day King would be killed.
Sirens blared. People screamed. Police rushed to the motel and that was it. A great man died.
On the 50th anniversary, we should give praise to him. He leads the way to a path of glory. 40 years after his death America finally got their first black president.
RIP Martin Luther King and God Bless.