Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.—50 Years After His Assassination

3 min read

| By Deb Kirby |

If, like me, the 1960s was your coming-of-age decade, you were witness to and shaped by many history-making events. Some were positive and inspiring, like the moon landing and the enactment of civil rights laws, while others were tragically sad, including the assassinations of President John Kennedy, his brother Bobby Kennedy, and Martin Luther King Jr. April 4 marks the 50th anniversary of King’s death, an especially fitting time to revisit the remarkable life and accomplishments of the civil rights leader.

MLK’s Biography In Context topic page is a great place to begin. Check out the video that recaps the August 28, 1963 March on Washington. Or close your eyes and imagine you are near the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on that historic day while you listen to this recording of King’s powerful “I Have a Dream” speech.

You’ll find many other historical treasures in Biography In Context, U.S. History In Context, and Gale’s Smithsonian Primary Sources in U.S. History, including the following:

  • Listen to the speech given by Robert Kennedy on the evening of King’s assassination to a mostly black crowd assembled for a routine campaign speech. Against the advice of the Indianapolis police chief, Kennedy did not cancel, instead breaking the news of King’s death to the crowd before giving an unscripted speech filled with compassion and words of hope. Only two months later, Kennedy was assassinated.
  • Watch Robert Kennedy speak the day after King’s assassination in a speech that rings eerily relevant to current events.
  • Read the full text of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, for which King and others fought so hard and which was passed on July 2, 1964, a little more than a year after the March on Washington.
  • Learn more about the history of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement, which began with organized acts of resistance and rebellion by slaves and those who believed slavery was morally wrong.

These selected documents and audio and video files are only a very few of the thousands of resources related to Dr. King and other history-making people and events of the 1960s available through Gale’s authoritative, curated databases.

About the Author

When Debra, a 30-year veteran of the publishing industry, is not working or reading, she can be found gardening, running, swimming, or pursuing the lifelong learning that is at the tip of her fingers via Gale databases.



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