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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.

Smith, Lillian Eugenia (December 12, 1897 to September 28, 1966)
Spock, Benjamin (May 2, 1903 to March 15, 1998)
St. Augustine, Florida (May 18, 1964 to July 1, 1964)
State of Alabama v. M. L. King, Jr., Nos. 7399 and 9593 (February 21, 1956 to May 28, 1960)
Steele, Charles Kenzie (February 7, 1914 to August 19, 1980)
Strength to Love (June 5, 1963)
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) (April 15, 1960 to May 1, 1971)
Taylor, Gardner C. (June 18, 1918 to April 5, 2015)
Thomas, Norman Mattoon (November 20, 1884 to December 19, 1968)
Thurman, Howard (November 18, 1899 to April 10, 1981)
Till, Emmett Louis (July 25, 1941 to August 28, 1955)
Tilley, John Lee (August 7, 1898 to April 28, 1971)
Tillich, Paul (August 20, 1886 to October 22, 1965)
Trenholm, Harper Councill (July 16, 1900 to February 20, 1963)