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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.

Azikiwe, Nnamdi (November 16, 1904 to May 11, 1996)
Baker, Ella Josephine (December 13, 1903 to December 13, 1986)
Baldwin, James Arthur (August 2, 1924 to December 1, 1987)
Ballou, Maude L. Williams (September 13, 1926 to August 26, 2019)
Barbour, Josephus Pius (June 8, 1894 to January 5, 1974)
Barry, Marion Shepilov, Jr. (March 6, 1936 to November 23, 2014)
Barth, Karl (May 10, 1886 to December 10, 1968)
Bates, Daisy (November 11, 1914 to November 4, 1999)
Belafonte, Harold George, Jr. (March 1, 1927 to April 25, 2023)
Bevel, James Luther (October 19, 1936 to December 19, 2008)
Birmingham Campaign (April 3, 1963 to May 10, 1963)
Blackwell, Randolph T. (March 10, 1927 to May 21, 1981)
Bond, Horace Julian (January 14, 1940 to August 15, 2015)
Borders, William Holmes, Sr. (February 24, 1905 to November 23, 1993)
Boston University (April 24, 1839)
Boutwell, Albert (November 13, 1904 to February 3, 1978)
Bowles, Chester Bliss (April 5, 1901 to May 25, 1986)
Boyte, Harry G. (June 26, 1911 to March 23, 1977)