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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.

Brightman, Edgar Sheffield (September 20, 1884 to February 25, 1953)
Bristol, James E. (February 12, 1912 to October 26, 1992)
Browder v. Gayle, 352 U.S. 903 (February 1, 1956 to December 17, 1956)
Brown, Theodore Edward (August 8, 1915 to December 28, 1983)
Bunche, Ralph Johnson (August 7, 1904 to December 9, 1971)
Burroughs, Nannie Helen (May 2, 1879 to May 20, 1961)
Carey, Archibald J., Jr. (February 29, 1908 to April 20, 1981)
Carmichael, Stokely (June 29, 1941 to November 15, 1998)
Carr, Johnnie Rebecca Daniels (January 26, 1911 to February 22, 2008)
Chalmers, Allan Knight (June 30, 1897 to January 23, 1972)
Chicago Campaign (January 7, 1966 to August 26, 1966)
Civil Rights Act of 1964 (July 2, 1964)
Clark, James Gardner (September 17, 1922 to June 4, 2007)
Clark, Septima Poinsette (May 3, 1898 to December 15, 1987)
Coleman, James Plemon (January 9, 1914 to September 28, 1991)