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Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929–1968––in Memoriam, poster, 1968

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. visited many cities to lead nonviolent protests for civil rights, peace, and economic justice. His murder on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee, was attributed to a lone gunman, James Earl Ray, but many people suspected a conspiracy. In 1976 the Congressional Black Caucus, learning of possible new information, pushed for a congressional inquiry.

Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1929–1968––in Memoriam, poster, 1968

The Kennedy and King Assassinations

The assassinations of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 devastated the nation. A 1964 presidential commission report on the Kennedy murder failed to satisfy the public, and there were lingering questions surrounding the King assassination. To bring closure to these tragedies, Representatives Thomas Downing of Virginia and Henry B. González of Texas, along with the Congressional Black Caucus, pressed for new investigations of both assassinations. In 1976 the House established the Select Committee on Assassinations.

Assassination is more than a deadly assault: It is an attack on the foundations of democracy . . . ; it undermines the political system . . . ; it produces fear among the citizenry

Report of the Select Committee on Assassinations . . . , 1979