Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.

Just after 6 pm on April 4, 1968, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at age 39, was assassinated while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. He was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers’ strike. He was preparing to leave the motel to go to dinner when a bullet struck him in the jaw and severed his spinal cord. Dr. King was pronounced dead after his arrival at a Memphis hospital. I was 8 or 9 years old when he was assassinated and saw how his death affected my family and our friends in the community and at church. I could not help thinking about how did his children feel about losing their father in this awful way.

YouVersion’s exclusive conversation with Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King below gives me some insight on what I often wondered — how were the King children coping emotionally and mentally through the years over their father’s death. I suspected there was anger towards white people in general. But despite her anger over what happened, it’s comforting to hear how the power of God’s Word is how she found the ability to forgive. I love her challenge to us to take God at his word when she said, ” . . . we too can tap into that same power today, in order to practice true justice towards others: by walking in mercy and humility. When you start practicing in this vein — doing justice, and loving mercy — it invites God into the equation and gives Him room to operate.”

A Conversation with Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King: His Word Does Not Return Void

Isaish 55:11 – “so shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: It shall not return unto Me void . . .”

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!