In the evening hours of April 4, 1968 Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. was struck down by an assassin’s bullet as he stood on a motel balcony in Memphis, TN.
LIFE Magazine has released a series of photographs made at the Lorraine Motel on the night of the shooting.
A plaque at the site of the assassination reads:
Rev. King’s life, and his work, brought dramatic, much needed changes to this country.
In less than a generation the US has moved away from water cannons and police dogs into an era where we can truly examine a person based on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin.
Every American, regardless of color or creed, owes a debt of gratitude to Rev. King because all of us benefited from his efforts.
I am too young to know what life was like prior to the civil rights movement. For me, and my children, that time period lives only in grainy photographs, black and white film clips, and museums.
My twelve year old recently asked me why Rev. King was so important. At first I was at a loss, not at the importance of Rev. King, but how to express it.
How do you explain hatred based on skin color to someone, a child, who has never seen, or considered, skin color as a factor?
In 2009 how do you explain ignorance and prejudice to a child? Believe me, it isn’t easy.