tv Reel America CBS News Martin Luther King - Assassination and Aftermath CSPAN April 4, 2018 2:06pm-2:36pm EDT
we have just been advised that governor buford ellington has ordered 4000 national guard troops into the city. a curfew has been clamped on memphis. >> today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of dr. martin luther king jr.. we will bring you a cbs news special report that was broadcast on april 5, 1968. this includes coverage of the funeral in memphis, reaction from president johnson and some of the riots that followed. i am the resurrection and the light, sayeth the lord. he that liveth in me and believeth in me shall never die. the lord gave, the lord hath taken away.
blessed be the name of the lord. >> good evening, this is harry reasoner. a day after the death of dr. martin luther king the nation has two questions. one, has the murderer been caught? he has not. authorities say they will catch him. two, what has the effect been? the nation has not caught fire, but there is a countrywide reaction. turmoil in a dozen cities were 40, including the capital city. regular troops are on duty there. the number of places that the national guard has been called out, probably set a record for domestic disturbance. many sides tonight are quoting dr. king who himself, never wanted to be cited in defense of violence. in mississippi, in 1966 after james meredith was shot he spoke with bitterness and passion
about what was then the new gospel of the black militants. >> i am disturbed about a strange spirit that is circulating. telling me that i ought to imitate the worst in the white man and the worst in our oppressors -- who has been killing and lynching people and throwing them in rivers. now people are telling me to stoop down to their level. oh no. oh no! the reason i will not do it is that i am not going to allow anybody to pull me so low as to use those methods. and has perpetuated evil throughout our civilization. i am sick and tired of that. i am tired of the war in vietnam! i am tired of war and conflict in the world! i am
tired of shooting! i am tired of hate! i am tired of selfishness! i am tired of evil! i am not going to use violence, no matter who says it! >> 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 has not fallen. the voice called for justice and brotherhood has been stilled, 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 its victory and to fulfill the vision of brotherhood and gave purpose to martin luther king jr.'s life
and his works. >> 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 anguish over dr. king's murder, presumably by a white man, expressed itself in violent destruction. detroit, the scene of last summer's worst rioting is under a curfew tonight with some 3000 national guardsmen on duty to enforce it. a young negro was killed tonight, accidentally according to police, who said that he struck a policeman's revolver, setting it off. boston too is being protected by a force of several thousand guardsmen mobilized after a day of racial confrontations. in new york, where police are out in full force, they have experienced 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 itself and president johnson declared a state of emergency. that resulted in the unthinkable act of armed regular army troops deployed to protect the capitol and the white house. for a report on washington violence here is steve. >> some buildings were put to the torch and police made periodic sweeps up and down the street, tossing teargas on to the crowds. that did not deter the negroes. they resumed running from store to store together up 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. that the police could not stop them without shooting and they quickly realized that the officers would not shoot. many were satisfied with only an armfull.
but others loaded bigger items into the vehicles. a few were too ambitious, curious perhaps, like the college students who wanted to see that they could get a big radio tv record player combination into a small car. it just would not fit. and, their curiosity, got these cats arrested. some of the looters were just children. others came prepared with tools to rip off protective bars. the negroes cheered excitedly as plate glass shattered or doors caved in. there were many who took no part in the break-ins but they took advantage of the openings provided by the younger men. there was one woman who found what she wanted, but then cannot could not find any young men to help her carry off her prize. the officers apparently had been told to avoid violence.
and while they roughed up some of those they arrested, they made no real attempt to catch most of the looters. in fact, many of those arrested got caught, because it worked -- they walked out of stores into the waiting arms of the police. but 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 knew that they were seriously understrength for any major outbreak of violence. many of them were hoping for a callout of the national guard. ofthe eventual deployment army troops. the crowd for its part, never turned really ugly wey, they had very little interference during the afternoon. [sirens] 7th street from the air looks like a row of chimneys.
even then the trouble was spreading and mayor washington clamped down a curfew and 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 an area just 20 blocks from the white house. as the evening wore on, officials said the incidence of fires seem to be lessening. somewhat, that assessment based on a helicopter trip over the city. three deaths have been reported in the washington rioting so far. there are no details. more than 350 persons have been treated for injuries. among them, several policemen and firemen. firefighting was hampered by the sheer volume of
some firefighting units were in the city from suburban areas. looting spread and arrests increased. to this hour, more than 700 people have been arrested some of them picked up in spot checks by the police and during 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 at strategic points in the most troubled areas. some of the regulars came in from nearby bases in virginia and maryland. former deputy defense secretary, cyrus vance, president johnson's troubleshooter in last year's detroit riots, joined mayor walter washington in directing operations. the first night of disorder put the capital city on edge. tonight, has been far worse and has still many more hours to go. cbs news, washington. >> earlier today, after last
night's violence in the capital died down and before the day began, mr. johnson proclaimed sunday as a national day of mourning for dr. king throughout the united states. mr. johnson also issued an order of dr. king's burial that the american flag is to be brought at half staff in all federal government buildings around the world. the assassination and its aftermath temporarily pushed aside the president's plans to pursue his new vietnam peace efforts at the white house. we got the latest on the president's plans and his mood from cbs news correspondent, dan rather. >> a violent afternoon faded into a sunset mixing with black smoke blowing from burning downtown buildings, just behind a half staff flag over the white house. there is a sad president in there tonight. he is walking around in his shirtsleeves, his collar undone, disappointed that the best he has done is not calmed
washington down. he had seven hours of conferences. sunday is a national day of mourning and prayer. he requested a joint session of congress monday evening for the president to address on civil order and justice and scheduled canceled his scheduled trip to honolulu. the day began with anyone civil -- 21 civil rights leaders summoned to the white house. what can and should be done was the question. most of those asked were black. dr. king's father was invited but declined, sending 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 jammed the church, the largest crowd in its history, larger than john kennedy's. at the white house, mr. johnson resumed his discussion with white leaders.
justice thurgood marshall and housing director robert weaver u.s. army rolled up behind the white house just before the sun went down. the president ordered the soldiers not to ring the white house. that would be left to government police in hopes of using the -- easing the picture impact overseas. it was the saddest day of the johnson presidency since that november friday in 1963, when he returned to washington from dallas. dan rather, cbs news, the white house. >> washington bore the front of the daytime violence. but chicago claimed the fearful distinction as night fell. there, 6000 national guardsmen were called to duty as fires raged for a 16-block area. >> they call it garfield park, known as a bleak negro ghetto. tonight much of it is on fire. the looting vandalism and burning beginning the afternoon as thousands of schoolchildren lest left of their classes. by late afternoon, as national guardsmen were being alerted, the trouble reached alarming
proportions and these fires were started. the looting went largely unchallenged. the scenes are all too familiar. men and women, children too, of all ages, carrying articles of all description, televisions ads clothing, furniture, food. police often ignored and were ignored by looters. the area on fire is west madison street, which points directly west from chicago's famed loop district. for the first several hours, no significant shooting incidents were reported. the word sniper was not heard. now, that has changed. several deaths are reported, including two negros who police said were killed by sniper fire. the number of arrests is in the hundreds. special booking and bonding arrangements are being made for tomorrow. authorities have lost count of the number of buildings burning out of control.
a water pressure problem has developed in the past hour and firemen find themselves unable to make even the most modest efforts. roughly half the firemen and fire engines in chicago are now engaged. the illinois national guard was alerted late in the day and as they took to the streets, mayor daley was making a plea for common order. -- calm and order. >> we must have respect for the rights of all people. and we ask, on behalf of chicago, for all parents, all children, all citizens, stand up today and tonight, and be proud the grateful city, be proud of the city which has given opportunity to all. and 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 it, personally, and on behalf of yourself. let us show to the united states and of the world, what the citizenry of chicago is made of. >> in memphis, the u.s. attorney general said authorities are close to the arrest of dr. king's murderer. he said, the investigation has led several hundred miles beyond tennessee's borders, but there is quite a bit of evidence and although the killer has not been positively identified, he expressed confidence for a n early solution. clark said there is no sign of a conspiracy. nothing to indicate the assassination was anything more than the act of one man. for a film report on today's developments, here is ike, bill and peter. first, pappas with a reconstruction of the slaying. >> eyewitnesses to the assassination say that dr. king left his room at 3:06 at the lorraine hotel to get some
air. he walked over to the railing, at this spot and noticing some friends below, he leaned over and began to speak with them. police say, 205 feet away, in a window in a flophouse, the assassin waited. he waited, police believe, in a bathroom down the hall from the room rented but four hours earlier. to get a clear shot of his victim, the assassin apparently had to stand on the bathtub, leaning forward to brace 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 decrepit hallway, turning, he raced down the rickety wood stairs and out. one policeman said he simply faded. mike pappas, cbs news, memphis. >> just at 8:00 this morning, dr. martin luther king's body was brought here for one hour. hundreds paid their respects.
they were old, dressed for work, middle-aged with families, young, well-dressed, curious children. but they were almost all black. for some, the experience was just too much. the plane had come from atlanta bearing mrs. king. there were police and national guardsmen at the airport with rifles and shotguns and riot sticks to hold back the crowd of newsmen and spectators. the casket was placed aboard for the last journey home to atlanta. a judge in memphis approved a march that martin luther king had planned to lead the next monday. bill plants, cbs news, memphis. >> dr. king's body came home on a plane chartered by new york senator, robert kennedy. hundreds of people took the time off from their jobs together in
the overcast weather. his chief aides were joined by by atlanta mayor, ivan allen who earlier was banned from participating in a black negro march. many stood quietly as dr. king's wife and children left the plane. the rain stopped 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, reverend ralph
abernathy, spoke to the people . >> may i have your attention. he was a man that did not believe in violence. he believed in nonviolence. >> yes god! >> he lived 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 copastors. mrs. jacqueline kennedy speaking on her own loss appeals to americans. i weep for mrs. king and for her children for the senseless act of hate -- she said. 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. >> thousands of people gathered for a memorial prayer service
for a memorial prayer service where mayor carl stokes asked for a continuance. >> you can kill a man, but you cannot kill an idea. the idea and the ideal for which dr. martin luther king stood, 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 under which all of us are in today, there will on the morrow, be a resurgence. there will be a resurgence of him being right and that we will overcome. >> with martin luther king gone, who can take his place in the leadership of the nation's negro moderates? whitney young, the head of the national urban league was asked
about this after attending a white house meeting with the president. >> whom do you see will take over leadership now that dr. king's gone? who will be the moderating force? >> the president of the united states, the congress, i just don't see this kind of separation anymore. i think i am a leader, of people of whatever color. the people who would engage in violence, whether black or white, are not leaders of decent people. i think the problem is decent versus inindecent people. the time has come that this big silent blob of americans who claim that they are so decent, they must begin to speak up. the problem is too serious now to be left to the kooks and the crackpots, whatever color they are. the decent people have to take over. >> president johnson will
address congress monday night in a speech to be broadcast over many cbs stations. what he plans to put forward is still being worked out. we hear about it from cbs news correspondent roger mudd. >> the white house has no clear idea what the president will propose to the congress when he addresses a joint session on monday. there was talk this afternoon at the white house, meaning from young of the urban league and walter washington, the capital cities commissioner. the president promised to do everything within his power and his -- in his remaining nine months in office. what they demanded was an immediate passage of the open housing bill, already scheduled to emerge from the house rules committee on tuesday, and a massive spending program in the 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
because it would have cleared the congress even without his memphis murder. the spending program is mr. johnson's own state of the union proposal, totaling $8 billion and has not moved an inch since january. any new programs will run immediately into budget deficits, tax increases and the and the slow appropriations process. if he is to succeed monday night, the president will need a n electric proposal whether congress -- while the congress is still in a state of shock. >> stokely carmichael, the black power militant, urged negroes today to avenge dr. king's death in the streets. get guns, he said, we have to retaliate for the execution. president johnson's reaction to the murder was broadcast 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.
of the can fill the void , but this i do come of dr.ly martin luther king jr. has not died with him. men who are white, men who are must and will now join toether as never in the past let all the forces of divisiveness no that america shall not be ruled by the bullet, but by the ballad of free and just men.
general on the uneasiness everywhere. -- in many be sure only onetos, it takes brick thrown to induce mob action. it may lookr away, as if america is burning down all their cities. in each city, it is usually defined by a field blocks. attorney percentage of the american population cannot destroy the country.
so far as one can tell from the reports, no real race right has occurred. one.ngton had it until it does, we have a good chance to snuff out the preliminary flames before the atmosphere catches fire. this hour, there is -- sunday is a national day of mourning. the funeral the tuesday. this is harry reasoner. tonight. -- good night.