tv Final Days of Martin Luther King Jr. CSPAN November 17, 2018 11:41am-12:01pm EST
lee harvey oswald and whether he acted alone. click it seemed evident that we should try to establish the ease or difficulty of that rather -- rapidfire performance. how fast could that rifle be fired? dr. martin luther king the apostle of nonviolence and the civil rights moment has been shot to death in memphis tennessee. at all points bulletin has been released. dr. king was standing on the balcony of the second floor hotel room tonight when a shot was fired from across the street.
the bullet exploded in his face. on april 4, 1960 eight, dr. martin luther king jr. was assassinated on the balcony of the room lorraine motel. the national civil rights museum, we visit to learn about his final days and what brought him to memphis. >> when we study the history of pre-and there is post-april 4, 1968. dr. king had his nonviolent resistance following but after the assassination of malcolm x, you have the formation of the black panthers. leaders calling out for black power to take control of their own neighborhoods and communities. in ideologysplit and philosophy in which was the most effective way to combat
civil rights in america. king was overshadowed by these black militants. was not receiving a high approval rating in the black community. the community in some ways turned their back. this was only supposed to be a detour for him, coming to memphis. he was going to lead a march and get to washington, d.c. later that month. and thosenists opposing dr. king's mission at this time are saying that he could not have a control margin in memphis. there was no way that he was going to be successful in washington. he was taken aback by this. he had a rift in his own party and group. there are members who wanted to go to washington. there are others who believed they should be here in memphis. ofis under a great about
pressure, scrutiny and stress during the weeks leading up to his assassination. here in 1968,ved segregation was still the law of the land. we lived in the jim crow south. there were white and colored only signs. when he returned in 1968, the civil rights act of 19 six four had been passed. the voting rights bill was signed in 1965. we were engulfed and economic injustice and the most important thing in this country was the which dr. king denounced the war. this really takes a turn into an
evolving king that we see in the movement. >> i want to make it clear that i'm going to continue with all of my might and all of my energy and all of my action to oppose the abominable evil unjust war in vietnam. [applause] the sanitation workers strike began when two sanitation workers were killed in the back of a garbage truck in 1968. 1300 sanitation workers strike against their employers. they were trying to get a better working environment for themselves and their families. dr. king saw what was going on and he vowed to come to memphis to lead a nonviolent campaign. once he returns to the city of there was up were going on in the back of the march. most people associate the dr. king was the primary organizer
from this march but in fact he was not. he just agreed to participate. and a chaosots beginning to take place downtown. to the point where dr. king was forced to or treat from the march to go by -- to go to a nearby holiday inn. he returned on wednesday, april 3. from easternre airlines of atlanta. his flight was delayed due to a bomb threat. he checked in at the lorraine motel. moreotel was one of the upscale hotels in downtown memphis for african-americans. dr. king had been here prior to his visit. he stays here because he stayed at a predominately white hotel previously and he received
criticism for that. they checked into room 306. he met with clergymen in the city of memphis. he was also going to meet with lawyers. he was facing an injunction to have a successful march the following week on monday, april 8. he met with his lawyers as well as the lorraine motel. imris 306. on that day, he was feeling very emotionally drained. laryngitisering from and flulike symptoms. it was one of the lowest points of his life. later that day, memphis had tornado warnings. there was a scheduled rally that night. not think there would be a large turnout because of the weather.
he sent other reverends and ambassadors to speak it has place. temple andd at the they saw over 2000 people. they were all applauding thinking that dr. king was behind them. realize this is dr. king crowd, reverend abernathy calls dr. king and he urges and encourages him to come in greek the guests that have come in the weather to hear him speak. once dr. king arrives, he says something that he had not said in any of his other speeches. >> like anybody i would like to live a long life, longevity has its place. i am not concerned about that now. >> like anybody i would like to
i just want to do god's will. he has allowed me to go up the mountain. i have looked overi just want '. and i have seen the promised land. i may not get there with you. i want you to know tonight that get to theple will promised land. >> what we did not know was that this would be his last public address. 24 hours later he would be assassinated by a bullet. on the day of april the fourth, dr. king was waiting for andrew young to return from federal court to have the injunction lifted. once this happens, dr. king is in a significantly jubilant mood. returns tond young the hotel around 4:00 p.m., dr. king and others were having pillow fights here at the motel.
dr. king is scheduled to go and eat dinner at a memphis minister's home. he comes into room 306 and he gets ready around 5:25 p.m.. p.m., he steps outside of room 306 and he greets people in the parking lot. >> we are stepping outside of the room to the balcony where he stayed. we're actually standing in front of the room that he stayed in which his room 306. he was standing in this position here. once he steps outside of the 5:45 p.m.,ound members of the southern christian leadership conference are standing below. one of the first to approach him is the rev. jessee jackson.
he asks dr. king what time is dinner. he says we will be there shortly. dr. king himself responds and says where is your type? jesse jackson looks up and says the prerequisite for dinner is an appetite and i have that. he was then introduced to a musician. mr. branch asked dr. king what song he would like to be played at dinner that night. dr. king respond. his chauffeur calls up and says you should go and grab a jacket. , a shote can respond rings out at six: oh 1 p.m.. he is shot and he lives here on the balcony.
the city of memphis was very much like the rest of the country and how it dealt with the aftermath of dr. king's death. people are angry, frustrated, and we see that frustration play out and a number of different ways. we see urban uprisings and a lot of cities. over 100 cities have uprisings where the frustration and anger boils out onto the streets and the neighborhoods. this is like a lot of cities in
that way where this is happening. it wasn't just dr. king's death. there are issues bubbling under the surface. in memphis, it was the sanitation workers strike. there were other cities that had similar issues of racial inequity that were pushing the tension within the community. this since people over the edge. we did memphis, while have uprisings we also have the silent march. that is worth thousands of people came on april 8 and walked to city hall in a silent march. the reverend james lawson sent out a memo saying today would be of a tweet or email with explicit instructions of how you are to behave. people respected those instructions and marched silently with signs that said on her king and racism.
crowd of people from different backgrounds, religions, races, ethnicities. they descended on the city of memphis to say yes this man of peace died violently but we will not react to violence with violence. we will react with peace and love the way dr. king would want us to do. the sunday after he was assassinated which was palm sunday, the city of memphis came together and held a rally called memphis cares. stadium, they came together and said we are the , we have to memphis talk about what happened here. it's is not ok. we still have the issue of the sanitation workers, but there was something happening in our city as a can unity that allow this to be the place where dr. king was assassinated.
we as a community have to wrestle with this. this was facilitated by a car dealer who was not part of the social justice seen. he decided this was not right. he decided to take a stand. he ended up having to leave the city for a. of time because he became unpopular because he hosted this event. at the event, they kicked out all of the media. they really and truly wanted amongo be a conversation the citizens. a moment of healing. there were a lot of difficult conversations had in that moment. say have heard some people i am really sorry it happened in memphis. it's too bad it happened in this. again, i have heard people beingng that this human like you and i in the full prime
of his life is dead, shot down, executed in cold blood. that is not repentance. repentance is not being concerned whether or not -- repentance is not being concerned whether or not people outside of our city will have a good feeling about us. how can anyone have a good feeling about memphis won one of the finest sons of this world of ours was shot down in our streets? [laughter] [applause] try, fromhow much we now on until there is no longer any written history, memphis will be known as a place where martin luther king was crucified. city that has had to
wrestle with that legacy over the last 50 years. the city is not perfect. it is conscious of that legacy. it is continuing to deal with that. very much like the rest of the country. it would be a disservice to single out memphis in that way. that has allowed this museum to flourish. it is very much like the rest of the country, this racial inequity and economic inequity is a hard conversation to have. it is a hard issue to deal with. we are dealing with it. we will continue to do so. >> our cities tour staff recently traveled to memphis to learn about the rich history. learn more about memphis and other stops on our tour at
c-span.org/cities tour. you're watching american history tv all weekend every weekend on c-span3. sunday on q&a, california democratic congresswoman jackie spear talks about her memoir undaunted. havings on an airstrip just concluded a congressional delegation tour with congressman ryan. we were ambushed on the airstrip. shot 20 --d ryan was 45 times. members of the press died. one defector of the people's temple died. i was shot five times on the right side of my body. my righting out of arm. a wound in my leg the size of a football.
it was all my god i'm 28 years old, this is it. >> sunday night at 8:00 eastern on c-span q&a. >> next on the presidency. ronald reagan's attorney general talks about his views on communism and his relationship with pope john paul ii at a conference organized by the white house writers group. the program was recorded as part of the hoover institution's video series, uncommon knowledge. series host peter robinson moderates the conversation. it is just over half an hour. >> ronald reagan and pope john paul ii, a partnership that changed the world. today, we are in washington at a conference devoted to that subject. with us today, an eyewitness to the relationship tween president reagan and pope john paul ii, the former attorney general, edwin meese iii. [a