Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated on this day in 1968 in Memphis. He was there to lend his support to a group of striking black sanitation workers when he was gunned down outside his motel room by James Earl Ray, an escaped convict who later confessed to the killing.
King was in New Orleans on more than one occasion, and three of our photographs here date from those trips. The rest are from the archives of The Associated Press and show King as he led his nonviolent protest movement for civil rights for black Americans. One of the funeral photographs was taken by Jack Thornell, the AP’s Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer based in New Orleans at the time.
The 1960s were an era of great turbulence and change in American society, and King was at the vortex of those changes. Throughout it all, he projected a calm and dignity that shines through in these images. 

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