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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.

King Center (Atlanta, Georgia) (January 1, 1968 to December 31, 1968)
King National Holiday (January 20, 1986)
King, Alberta Williams (September 13, 1903 to June 30, 1974)
King, Alfred Daniel Williams (July 30, 1930 to July 21, 1969)
King, Bernice Albertine (March 28, 1963)
King, Coretta Scott (April 27, 1927 to January 30, 2006)
King, Dexter Scott (January 30, 1961)
King, Martin Luther, III (October 23, 1957)
King, Martin Luther, Sr. (December 19, 1897 to November 11, 1984)
King, Yolanda Denise (November 17, 1955 to May 15, 2007)
Kunstler, William Moses (July 7, 1919 to September 4, 1995)
Lafayette, Bernard (July 19, 1940)
Lawson, James M. (September 22, 1928)
Lee, Bernard Scott (October 2, 1935 to February 10, 1991)
Levison, Stanley David (May 2, 1912 to September 12, 1979)
Lewis, John (February 21, 1940)
Lewis, Rufus (November 30, 1906 to August 19, 1999)
Little Rock School Desegregation (September 4, 1957 to September 25, 1957)
Lowery, Joseph Echols (October 6, 1921)
Lutuli, Albert J. (January 1, 1898 to July 21, 1967)