Biography of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Losing a Leader
On April 4, 1968 Dr. King was shot to death on the balcony of his motel.
His murder set
off rioting across the United States. Dozens of people were
killed, and National Guard and federal troops were needed
to restore order.
President Johnson declared a national day of mourning on April 9the day Martin Luther King, Jr., was buried. Many who had heard Dr. King
speak on April 3 recalled his eerily prophetic words:
I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go 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.
On April 11, President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968. It did not create a promised land for African Americans, but it did bring
In 1986fifteen years after Martin Luther King, Jr. was murderedPresident Ronald Reagan declared the third Monday in January a federal
holiday honoring Dr. King's birthday. The holiday is celebrated in countries around the world.
Dr. King is entombed on Freedom Plaza, which is located in Atlanta, Georgia and surrounded by the Freedom Hall Complex of the Martin Luther
King, Jr., Historic Site. The site, recognized as a National Historic Landmark, was declared a National Historic Site on October 10, 1980 by the
U.S. Department of the Interior.