tv Reel America CBS News Martin Luther King - Assassination and Aftermath CSPAN April 1, 2018 4:06pm-4:36pm EDT
assassinated at the lorraine motel in memphis, tennessee. the nobel peace prize winner was in the city to support a sanitation worker strike. up next on reel america, a special report from the day after the assassination. news anchor harry reasoner and many correspondents report on widespread burning and looting in washington, d.c. and chicago and the reaction of president lyndon johnson and other leaders. the report also includes a segment from memphis showing where and how the assassination happened. and martin luther king's body lying in state in a funeral home. >> i am the resurrection and the light says the lord.
whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. the lord gave, the lord hath taken away. blessed be the name of the lord. harry: good evening, this is harry reasoner. a day after the death of dr. martin luther king the nation has two questions. one, has the murder of been one, has the murderer have been caught? he has not. authorities say they will catch them. two, what has the effect been? the nation has not caught fire, but there is a countrywide reaction. turmoil in a dozen cities for total of 40, including the capital city. regular troops are on duty there. the number of places that the national guard has been called out probably sets a record for domestic disturbance.
many sides tonight are quoting dr. martin luther king. he himself never wanted to be cited in defense of violence. in mississippi, in 1966, after james meredith was shot he spoke with earnest and passion about what was then the new gospel of the black militias. dr. king jr.: mean-spiritedness circulating, saying that i ought to imitate the worst in the white man in the west in our presence. who has lynching people and throwing them in rivers. all people are telling me i telling me just to stoop down to that level. oh no. [applause] dr. king jr.: i am not going to allow anybody to pull me so low. perpetuating evil throughout our civilization.
i am tired of the war in vietnam. i am tired of war in the world. i'm tired of shooting. i am tired of hate. i am tired of selfishness, i am tired of evil. i will not use violence no matter who says it. [applause] harry: dr. martin luther king jr. has been struck down by the violence against which he preached and worked. yet, the cause for which he struggled is not fallen. the force that called for justice and brotherhood has been still. but the quest for freedom, to which he always gave eloquent expression continues on. men of all races, of all religions, of all regions now
must join together in this hour to deny violence and to fulfill the vision of brotherhood that gave purpose to martin luther king, jr. life and his works. harry: president johnson issued that appeal to the nation at the white house today. a day in which the war in vietnam was pushed into the background. washington, chicago, detroit, boston, new york are a few of the cities in which the negro anguished expressed itself in violent destruction. detroit, the scene of the worst rioting, is under a curfew with some 3000 national guardsmen on duty to enforce it. a young negro was killed tonight, accidentally according to police who said he struck a police revolver setting it off.
boston is effect by a force of several thousand guardsmen are mobilized after a day of racial confrontations. in new york, police are out in full force as window breaking and looting of stores along broadway and sixth and seventh avenues. in late afternoon, the smoke of racial vandalism drifted across the white house. president johnson declared a state of emergency. it resulted in the unthinkable act of it army troops deployed to protect the capital and the white house. for a report on washington violence, here is steve. steve: some buildings were put to the course. police made periodic sweeps up and down the street, tossing tear gas into crowds. that did not deter the negro's. their resumes, running from store to store and gathering everything they could get. it did not matter that the clothing might not fit. the important thing seemed to be
that they were getting away with it. police could not stop them without shooting. they quickly realize the officers would not shoot. many were satisfied. others loaded bigger items into vehicles. few were too ambitious, curious perhaps like the college students who wanted to see whether they could get a big radio tv record player combination into a small car. it just would not fit. their curiosity got these cats arrested. some of the looters were just children. others came prepared with tools. the negros cheered excitedly as glasses caved in. they took advantage of the openings provided by the younger men. there was one woman who found
what she wanted, but then cannot find any young man to help her carry it out. the officers apparently had been told to avoid violence. they made no real attempt to catch most of the looters. many of those who were arrested got caught because they walked out of stores into the waiting arms of the police. still, some persons were injured and there were a few complaints of police brutality and false arrests. aside from responding with tear gas, the officers generally ignored the bricks and bottles thrown at them. they were seriously understrength for any major outbreak of violence. many of them were hoping of call-out for the national guard. the crowd never turned really ugly. they got out with relatively little interference during the afternoon. [sirens]
steve: seven streets from the era look like a row of chimney. the trouble was struggling and mayor walter washington clamped on a curfew. they canceled the cherry blossom festival scheduled for the weekend. that was washington by day. this is how washington looked from the air tonight. at one point early in the evening more than 100 fires were burning. some of them in the white house. as a evening wore on, officials said the incidence of fires seem to be lessening. that assessment based on a helicopter trip over the city. three deaths have been reported in the washington writing. there are no details. more than 350 persons have been treated for injuries.
among them, firefighting was hampered by the sheer volume of the alarm. some firefighting units were in the suburban areas. [sirens] looting spread. steve: as darkness fell, arrests increase. more than 700 people have been arrested. some of them picked up in spot checks by police enforcing the curfew. more than 4000 national guard and regular army troops moved into the city to reinforce the some 1200 policeman on duty. they were dispersed of strategic points in the most troubled areas. some of the regulars came in from nearby bases in virginia and maryland. former deputy defense secretary, johnson's troubleshooter and last year's detroit riot, joined with mayor washington and directing the operations. the first night of disorder put the capital on edge.
tonight has been far worse. there are still many more hours to go. cbs news, washington. harry: earlier today, after last night's violence in the capital died down and before the day began, mr. johnson proclaim sunday as a national day of mourning for dr. king throughout the united states. mr. johnson also issued an order mr. johnson also issued an order the american flag is to be put at half staff on all federal government buildings around the world. the assassination of the aftermath temporarily pushed aside the president's plans to pursue his new vietnam peace pursue his new vietnam peace efforts as he put in a busy day at the white house. we got the latest on the president's plans and his move from cbs news correspondent dan rather. dan: a violent afternoon faded into a red sunset mixing with black smoke blowing from burning downtown buildings just behind the half-staff flag over the white house. there is a sad president in there tonight.
he is walking around with short sleeves and his collar undone disappointed what has happened to washington. he had seven hours of conferences. proccations and order hes besides announcing sunday as a national day of mourning and prayer. he has a joint session of congress monday evening while the president addresses injustice. he canceled the trip to honolulu and said general west moreland will be in washington tomorrow. the day began with 21 civil rights leaders summoned. what can and should be done was the question. most of those asked were black. dr. king's father was invited but declined and sent a telegram expressing full support for the president to stop the violence. mr. johnson interrupted the session to attend memorial services of dr. king's at the national cathedral. the supreme court, the cabinet and several thousand others attended the church, the largest
in history, larger than john kennedy. at the white house, mr. johnson resumed his discussion with white leaders. u.s. army troops rolled up behind the white house just before the sun went down. the president ordered the soldiers not to ring the white house. they had hopes of easing the impact overseas. it was the saddest day of the johnson presidency since that november in 1963 when he returned to washington. dan rather, cbs news, the white house. >> washington bore the front of the daytime violence. there are 6000 national guardsmen and calls of duty. fires raged through a 16-block area. >> they call it garfield park. known as the bleak negro ghetto.
tonight much of it is on fire. looting vandalism and burning beginning in the afternoon as thousands of schoolchildren lest their classrooms. by late afternoon, as national guardsmen were coming, these fires were started. the looting went largely unchallenged. the scenes are all too familiar. men and women, children, too, of sets, clothing, furniture, food. police often ignored and were ignored by looters. the area on fire is west madison street, which points west from chicago's famed loop district. for the first several hours, no significant injuries were reported.
the word sniper was not heard. now that has changed. several deaths are reported, including two negro's who were killed by sniper fire. arrangements are already being made for tomorrow. authorities have lost count of the number of buildings burning out of control. a water pressure problem has developed. firefighters are finding it difficult to make the most moderate effort. half of the engines in chicago are now engaged. illinois national guard was alerted in the day. as they took to the street, mayor daley was making a plea for calm and order. mayor daley: we must have respect for the rights of all people. we ask, on behalf of chicago, for all parents, all children, all citizens, stand up today and tonight and be proud of the grateful city, and be proud of the city, be proud of the city
which has given an opportunity to all. protect the city and work and cooperate with the police department, the national guard and the fine fire department. i ask you this sincerely and i ask you this personally and on behalf of yourself. but show to the united states and the world what the citizenry of chicago is made of. >> in memphis, u.s. attorney general said authorities are very close to the arrest of dr. king's murderer. the investigation has led several hundred miles beyond tennessee's borders, but there is a bit of evidence. although the killer has not been positively identified, he expressed confidence for a solution. clark also said there is no sign of a conspiracy. nothing to indicate the assassination was anything more than the act of one man. for a report of today's development, here is ike, bill and peter. here is a reconstruction of the
slaying. >> eyewitnesses say that dr. king left his room at 3:06 at the lorraine hotel to get some air. he walked over to the railing, noticing some friends below, he leaned over and began to speak with them. police say, 205 feet away, in a window, the assassin waited. he waited in a bathroom down the hall from the room he rented four hours earlier. to get a clear shot of his victim the assassin had to stand on the bathtub leaning forward to embrace his arms on the window ledge to steady his rifle. this was the view he got. he fired a single shot, hitting his target squarely and then he ran. out of the bathroom and along the hallway. he raced down the wood stairs and out. one policeman said he faded. cbs news, memphis. >> just at 8:00 this morning,
dr. martin luther king's body was brought to lie in state for an hour. they were dressed for work, they were middle-aged with family, young, well-dressed, curious children. there were almost all black. for some, the experience was just too much. the plane had come from atlanta with mrs. king. there were police and national guardsmen at the airport with rifles, shotguns and riot sticks to hold back the crowd and rioting expected. a judge in memphis approved a march that martin luther king had planned to lead next monday.
news, memphis. >> doctor king's body came home in a plane. his chief aides were joined by atlanta mayor who was barred for participating in a black negro march. the range stop just before the plane arrived. mayor alan led the motorcade from the airport through downtown atlanta to a funeral home a few blocks away from the state capital. another crowd of 500 waited there. mrs. king took the children into the home. she met with friends and family to make plans for the funeral. his brother, reverend a.d. king came here from louisville.
the acting president of the southern christian leadership conference spoke to the people. >> may i have your attention? he was a man that did not believe in violence. he believed in nonviolence. >> yes, sir. >> he lived it, he preached it and this is the way he died. >> dr. king's funeral has been scheduled for tuesday morning at ebenezer baptist church in atlanta where he and his father served as copastor. speaking from the memory of her own loss, she appealed to americans. i weep for mrs. king and for her children for the senseless act of hate. when will our country learn that to live by the sword is to perish by the sword. the morning symbolized by his service in cleveland. john hart reports. >> thousands of people gathered
outside for a memorial prayer service were mayor carl stokes asked for a continuing. for a memorial prayer service >> you can kill a man, but you cannot kill an idea. the idea and the ideal for which dr. martin luther king's book, for which he lived and for which he died, will continue to live in this country. it will continue to live in this city. despite the sorrow on all of us today, there will be a resurgence of him being right and that we will overcome.
>> with martin luther king gone, who could take his place in the leadership of the nation's negro moderates? whitney young was asked about this after attending a meeting with the president. >> who do you see will take over leadership? >> the president of the united states, the congress, i just don't see this kind of separation any more. i think i am a leader of whatever color. i think the people who would engage in violence, whether black or white, they are not leaders of decent people. i think the problem is decent people versus indecent people. it is clearly a question of right thinking people against wrong thinking people. the time has come that this part
silent blob of americas must come to speak up. it is too serious to be left to the crackpots, whatever color they are. the decent people have to take over. >> president johnson will address congress monday night in a speech will be broadcast over many cbs stations. what he plans to put forward is still being worked out. we hear about it from cbs correspondent roger. roger: the white house has no clear idea tonight what the clear idea tonight what the president will propose to the congress. it was one talk this afternoon at the white house. mainly from whitney young of the urban league and walter washington, the capital cities commissioner. the president promised to do everything within his power and remaining nine months in office. that washington and young demand it was a passage of the open housing bill, already scheduled to emerge in the house committee tuesday. and a massive spending program in a neighborhood of $30 billion for jobs and low-cost housing. the president is expected to push for the open housing bill,
but this can hardly be classed as a memorial for dr. king, for it would have cleared the congress of the memphis murder. the spending program is something again. mr. johnson's own state of the union proposal is totaling $8 billion and has not moved an inch since january. any new programs will run immediately into budget deficits, tax increases and the the slow appropriations process. if he is to succeed monday night, the president will need a proposal while the congress is still in a state of shock. harry: the black power militant urged negros to avenge dr. king's death in the streets. get guns, we have to retaliate night, the president will need a for the execution. president johnson's reaction to the murder was broadcasted to the nation this morning after he met with civil rights leaders at the white house. >> once again, the heart of america is heavy.
the spirit of america weeps for a tragedy that denies the very meaning of our land. the life of a man who symbolized the freedom and faith of america has been taken. but it is the fiber and the fabric of the republic that is being tested. if we are to have the america that we mean to have, all men of all races, all regions, all religions, must stand their
ground to deny violence its victory in this sorrowful time and in all times to come. hours, no words of mine can fill and no words of ours, no words of mine can fill the void of the eloquent voice that has been stilled. but this, i do believe deepens the dream of martin luther king jr. that has not died with him. but this i do believe deeply, that the dream of dr. martin luther king jr. has not died with him. men who are white, men who are black must and will now join together, as never in the past, to let all the forces of divisiveness know that america shall not be ruled by the
bullet, but only by the ballot of free and of just men. >> throughout most of the country, of course, there is no violence, but there is a general uneasiness everywhere and there is wide, scattered violence. from washington, eric assesses the situation. reporter: no one can be sure if the violence is to grow and spread or decline and contract. in many city ghettos, emotions are poised on the knife edge. it takes only one brick thrown, one fire set there to set loose mob action. the presentation of news funnels and concentrates far scattered events. to people far away, it may look as if americans are burning down all their great cities. they are not, and they are not likely to. in each city, the violence is usually confined to a few blocks out of thousands. looters numbering scores or a few hundred, not often thousands. the real rioters numbering even less. a tiny percentage of 12% of the
american population cannot destroy this country or come anywhere close to that. a great man and symbol has been martyred. as he was all but sure to be. there is no complete security against the lone, sick criminal, his capability greatly enlarged by the modern instrument of the high-powered rifle with a telescopic eye. almost none of the assassinations of our great men in our history has been the result of conspiracy. the murder of lincoln was a quasi-spear is a, a small group quasi-conspiracy, a small group of misfits hastily thrown together. the truest conspiracy was the attempt on president truman, and that failed. those who understood dr. king are weeping tonight, they are not throwing rocks. cruelly hurt human pride light -- live at the very bottom of these explosions. but it is hard to think of yelling, exuberant teenagers smashing the shops of fellow negroes as rebels with a cause,
carrying the weight of history on their backs. it is little hard to think of well-dressed men and women stealing from other negroes as people crazed by grief. indeed, most of them seemed to laugh as they grabbed. so far as one could tell from the terse reports around the country, no real race riot has occurred, only riots. washington, like other cities, had one wants -- had one wants about half a century ago, whites against blacks, en masse, and there were casualties. that could happen again. until it does, we have a good chance to snuff out the scattered preliminary flames before any firestorm begins, before the atmosphere catches fire. >> at this hour, there is unrest in many places, but it is not out of control anywhere. the murderer is at large, but the attorney general says that he will be caught. sunday is a national day of mourning. on monday, the president addresses congress. the body lies in atlanta. the funeral will be tuesday. good night.
this is harry razor. good night. >> this special report has been brought to you by western electric, manufacturing and supply unit of the bell system, the people who provide telephones and the equipment that connects them. announcer: 50 years ago on april 9, 1968, funeral services were held in atlanta for martin luther king jr., who had been shot and killed five days earlier in memphis, tennessee. up next on "reel america," cbs news coverage from ebenezer baptist church, where one of -- where reverend ralph abernathy, one of king's closest friends, presided over his funeral service. the program continues with scenes of the procession, as thousands of mourners follow the casket through the street of atlanta to morehse