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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.

Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) (January 1, 1942 to December 31, 1942)
Connor, Theophilus Eugene "Bull" (July 11, 1897 to March 10, 1973)
Cook, Samuel DuBois (November 21, 1928 to May 30, 2017)
Cotton, Dorothy Foreman (June 9, 1930 to June 10, 2018)
Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) (August 1, 1962 to December 31, 1965)
Crozer Theological Seminary (October 2, 1868 to May 28, 1970)
Curry, Izola Ware (June 14, 1916 to March 7, 2015)
Daniels, Jonathan Myrick (March 20, 1939 to August 20, 1965)
Daves, Joan (November 14, 1919 to June 25, 1997)
Davis, Benjamin Jefferson, Jr. (September 8, 1903 to August 22, 1964)
Davis, George Washington (December 7, 1902 to March 29, 1960)
Davis, Sammy, Jr. (October 2, 1930 to May 16, 1990)
DeWolf, L. (Lotan) Harold (January 31, 1905 to May 24, 1986)
Dexter Avenue Baptist Church (Montgomery, Alabama) (January 1, 1877 to January 31, 1877)
Diggs, Charles C., Jr. (December 2, 1922 to August 24, 1998)
Dobbs, John Wesley (March 6, 1882 to August 30, 1961)
Durr, Virginia Foster (August 6, 1903 to February 24, 1999)
Ebenezer Baptist Church (Atlanta, Georgia) (January 1, 1886 to December 31, 1886)