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25 Powerful Photos Of America After MLK's Assassination

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered while standing on his hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. These pictures show the emotional days following his assassination.

Posted on April 4, 2018, at 11:01 a.m. ET

Joseph Louw / Getty Images

Ralph Abernathy, Jesse Jackson, and others stand on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel and point in the direction of gunshots that killed Martin Luther King Jr., who lies at their feet, in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.

Historical / Getty Images

President Lyndon B. Johnson and advisers learn of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.


Morning newspapers in London are headlined with news of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on April 5, 1968.

Lee Balterman / Getty Images

Chicago streets ablaze from rioting following news of MLK's assassination.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

A squad of police fire tear gas at a group of youths in Washington, DC, who were pelting the police with rocks.

Lee Balterman / Getty Images

National Guardsmen march in front of a Chicago store during the riots.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

National Guardsmen detain three black men in Memphis following the imposition of a citywide curfew.

Gerald R. Brimacombe / Getty Images

Chicago police officers patrol the city during the riots.


Storefront windows are left shattered after rioting and arson broke out in Washington, DC.


A National Guardsman stands watch in Washington, DC, near the ruins of a burned-out building.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

The shell of a building is left smoldering after being destroyed by arsonists in Washington, DC.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Robert F. Kennedy visits the aftermath of riots in Washington, DC.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Jackie Kennedy leaves the home of Coretta Scott King after paying her respects to the widow of the slain civil rights leader.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

The casket containing the body of Martin Luther King Jr. is removed from a plane and put into a hearse.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

An unidentified woman watches the casket board a plane for transport to MLK's home in Atlanta, Georgia.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Martin Luther King Jr.'s family wait in a car on the day of his casket viewing. In the front is Dexter (right), 7, and Martin, 11. Behind them in the red coat is their sister Yolanda, 12, next to their mother, Coretta Scott King. To Coretta's left is the youngest daughter, Bernice, 5.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

A mule-drawn wagon carrying the casket of Martin Luther King Jr. is followed by dignitaries and thousands of people as it moves en route to Morehouse College for a memorial service.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

Coretta Scott King, on the arm of Ralph Abernathy, her husband's successor as head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, leads a march of some 10,000 persons in a memorial march for the slain Dr. King.

Toby Massey / AP

Six men hang a sign in honor of MLK at an expressway bridge near King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference headquarters in Atlanta.


Thousands of mourners crowd the Ebenezer Baptist Church to pay respects.

Charles Kelly / AP

An unidentified woman weeps at the R.S. Lewis and Sons Funeral Home in Memphis, Tennessee.

Boston Globe / Getty Images

Students participate in a prayer for Martin Luther King Jr. at the Julia Ward Howe School in Boston on April 5, 1968.

Photoquest / Getty Images

Demonstrators picket in front of the White House. Two visible signs read "Let his death not be in vain" and "We have a dream."

Robert Abbott Sengstacke / Getty Images

A group of demonstrators holding signs reading "Union justice now," "Honor King: End racism!" and "I am a man" march in protest after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

Bettmann / Bettmann Archive

A wreath is left on the outside door of room #306 of the Lorraine Motel, which Martin Luther King occupied before he was fatally shot as he leaned over a railing outside the room talking to friends.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.