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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.

Randolph, A. Philip (April 15, 1889 to May 16, 1979)
Ray, Sandy Frederick (February 3, 1898 to April 11, 1979)
Reddick, Lawrence Dunbar (March 3, 1910 to August 2, 1995)
Reeb, James (January 1, 1927 to March 11, 1965)
Reuther, Walter Philip (September 1, 1907 to May 10, 1970)
Robinson, Cleveland Lowellyn (December 12, 1914 to August 23, 1995)
Robinson, Jackie (January 31, 1919 to October 24, 1972)
Robinson, Jo Ann Gibson (April 17, 1912 to August 29, 1992)
Rockefeller, Nelson Aldrich (July 8, 1908 to January 26, 1979)
Rodell, Marie Freid (January 31, 1912 to November 9, 1975)
Rogers, Theopholius Yelverton, Jr. (October 8, 1935 to March 26, 1971)
Roosevelt, (Anna) Eleanor (October 11, 1884 to November 7, 1962)
Rothschild, Jacob Mortimer (August 4, 1911 to December 31, 1973)
Rustin, Bayard (March 17, 1912 to August 24, 1987)
Seay, Solomon Snowden, Sr. (January 25, 1899 to April 8, 1988)
Selma to Montgomery March (March 21, 1965 to March 25, 1965)
Shuttlesworth, Fred Lee (March 18, 1922 to October 5, 2011)
Sit-ins (February 1, 1960)
Smiley, Glenn E. (April 19, 1910 to September 14, 1993)
Smith, Kelly Miller (October 28, 1920 to June 3, 1984)