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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.

Graham, Frank Porter (October 14, 1886 to February 16, 1972)
Graham, William Franklin (November 7, 1918 to February 21, 2018)
Granger, Lester Blackwell (September 16, 1896 to January 9, 1976)
Gray, Fred David, Sr. (December 14, 1930)
Gray, William H., Jr. (September 25, 1911 to January 26, 1972)
Gregg, Richard B. (February 13, 1885 to January 27, 1974)
Gregory, Dick (October 12, 1932 to August 19, 2017)
Hamer, Fannie Lou (October 6, 1917 to March 14, 1977)
Harding, Vincent Gordon (July 25, 1931 to May 19, 2014)
Hartsfield, William Berry (March 1, 1890 to February 22, 1971)
Hassler, Alfred (February 19, 1910 to June 5, 1991)
Hayling, Robert B. (November 20, 1929 to December 20, 2015)
Helstein, Ralph (December 11, 1908 to February 14, 1985)
Heschel, Abraham Joshua (January 11, 1907 to December 23, 1972)
Highlander Folk School (November 1, 1932 to November 30, 1932)
Hollowell, Donald L. (December 19, 1917 to December 27, 2004)
Hooks, Benjamin Lawson (January 31, 1925 to April 15, 2010)
Houser, George Mills (June 2, 1916 to August 19, 2015)
Hughes, Robert E. (January 18, 1928 to December 9, 2012)