Martin Luther King Funeral Procession, MLK assassination
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Introduction

In early April 1968, shock waves reverberated around the world with the news that U.S. civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. A Baptist minister and founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), King had led the civil rights movement since the mid-1950s, using a combination of powerful words and non-violent tactics such as sit-ins, boycotts and protest marches (including the massive March on Washington in 1963) to fight segregation and achieve significant civil and voting rights advances for African Americans. His assassination led to an outpouring of anger among black Americans, as well as a period of national mourning that helped speed the way for an equal housing bill that would be the last significant legislative achievement of the civil rights era.