THE FINAL ACT: KING’S DEATH
His words and deeds bring hope, but his assassination intensifies division
THE DAY BEFORE, 3 APRIL 1968
King checks into a regular base, the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, to support a strike by sanitation workers. With him during a brief respite on the balcony are some of his inner circle: (l-r) Hosea Williams, Jesse Jackson and Ralph Abernathy.
“I’VE BEEN TO THE MOUNTAINTOP”
That night, King delivers a speech at Mason Temple, ending with the poignant words: “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 the day of the funeral, a private service is held at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King served as pastor, before his coffin is placedon a wagon and pulled through Atlanta’s streets. Some 100,000 people see the procession or attend the service at Morehouse College – at the front is Coretta Scott, comforting their youngest child, Bernice.