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Welcome to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Encyclopedia!

The Encyclopedia, based on the extensive historical research originally conducted for The Papers,has over 280 articles on civil rights movement figures, events, and organizations. It also offers a detailed day-to-day chronology of King's life, drawn from the volumes.

Memphis Sanitation Workers' Strike

The night before his assassination in April 1968, Martin Luther King told a group of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee: “We’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through” (King, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop,” 217).

Coretta Scott King places flowers at King's grave. Photo by Bob Fitch, courtesy of the Bob Fitch Photography Archive, © Stanford University Libraries.

Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

At 6:05 P.M. on Thursday, 4 April 1968, Martin Luther King was shot dead. During King’s funeral a tape recording was played in which King spoke of how he wanted to be remembered after his death: “I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others” (King, “Drum Major Instinct,” 85).

"Drum Major Instinct"

On 4 February 1968, King, preached “The Drum Major Instinct” from the pulpit of Ebenezer Baptist Church. Excerpts were played at King’s nationally televised funeral service, held at Ebenezer on 9 April 1968.

King Encyclopedia

King Encyclopedia

Search the entries of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Encyclopedia, updated for digital publication.

View the day-to-day chronology of Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Advice for Living" (September 1, 1957 to December 31, 1958)
"Beyond Vietnam" (April 4, 1967)
"Drum Major Instinct" (February 4, 1968)
"I Have a Dream" (August 28, 1963)
Abernathy, Ralph David (March 11, 1926 to April 17, 1990)
Albany Movement (November 17, 1961)
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity (December 4, 1906)
American Committee on Africa (ACOA) (January 1, 1953 to December 31, 2001)
American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) (January 1, 1917 to December 31, 1917)
American Jewish Congress (AJC) (December 15, 1918)
Anderson, William Gilchrist (December 12, 1927)
Angelou, Maya (April 4, 1928 to May 28, 2014)
Apartheid (May 26, 1948 to May 9, 1994)