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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.

Hunter, Lillie Thomas Armstrong (January 18, 1929)
In Friendship (January 5, 1956)
India Trip (February 3, 1959 to March 18, 1959)
Jack, Homer Alexander (May 19, 1916 to August 5, 1993)
Jackson, Jesse Louis (October 8, 1941)
Jackson, Jimmie Lee (December 16, 1938 to February 26, 1965)
Jackson, Joseph Harrison (September 11, 1900 to August 18, 1990)
Jackson, Mahalia (October 26, 1911 to January 27, 1972)
James, C. L. R. (January 4, 1901 to May 31, 1989)
Jemison, Theodore Judson (August 1, 1918 to November 15, 2013)
Johns, Vernon (April 22, 1892 to June 11, 1965)
Johnson, Lyndon Baines (August 27, 1908 to January 22, 1973)
Johnson, Mordecai Wyatt (January 12, 1890 to September 10, 1976)
Jones, Clarence Benjamin (January 8, 1931)
Katzenbach, Nicholas deBelleville (January 17, 1922 to May 8, 2012)
Kelsey, George Dennis Sale (July 24, 1910 to April 3, 1996)
Kennedy, John Fitzgerald (May 29, 1917 to November 22, 1963)
Kennedy, Robert Francis (November 20, 1925 to June 6, 1968)