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On April 4, 1968, a 39-year-old Black man staying at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis had stepped onto the balcony of his room to converse with people in the courtyard below. While he stood there, a bullet from a rifle sped through the air, piercing the man in the chin and neck.
The man collapsed to the ground, while his friends screamed and pointed at the nearby assailant, who was getting away. One hour later, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was pronounced dead at age 39.
Somewhere between the time of his death and the world as we know it today, the legacy of Dr. King was airbrushed into a conflict-free story devoid of resistance and struggle. In actuality, MLK only had about a 30% approval rating at the time of his death, with nearly two thirds of the population finding him and his message of equality unfavorable.
Nowadays, MLK’s life and work for civil rights is looked back upon with high regard, particularly by those in the white community who protest the efforts of Black Lives Matter and the Black Panthers.
So on this 50th anniversary of his assassination, people are calling out the historians who ignored the uphill battle King had to climb and uplifting those who continue to fight his fight.
(Photo: Stephen F. Somerstein/Getty Images)