50 Years Ago: New York Reacts to the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

The sudden death of Marin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, spread quickly over the airwaves to New York, where thousands of people came together to remember America's preeminent civil rights leader.

15 photos
AP Photo/Dave Pickoff
Library of Congress/Dick DeMarsico
Martin Luther King Jr. at Gracie Mansion in 1964.
Library of Congress/Don Rice
Martin Luther King Jr. speaks at an anti-Vietnam War demonstration in New York City in 1967, a year before his death.
AP/John Lindsay
Thousands of young people march through Times Square on April 5, 1968, bound for City Hall after a rally in Central Park. The line of demonstrators stretched some 12 blocks at times as they marched down Broadway.
AP/John Duricka
Floyd McKissick, head of CORE, addresses a crowd of garment district workers who stopped work to attend a memorial meeting for Martin Luther King, Jr. at Seventh Avenue and 37th Street on April 8, 1968. McKissick told the crowd: "The reason you're here today is because of an act of violence."
Firemen battle a blaze on 125th Street in Harlem on April 4, 1968, after a furniture store and other buildings were set on fire after it was learned that civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King had been assassinated in Memphis.
Crowd gathers at bandshell in Central Park on April 5, 1968 in a protest. There were 4,000 people in the crowd. Similar gatherings were planned around the nation.
A fire in Newark, New Jersey drew a large crowd of onlookers watching firemen pour water onto the burning building, April 6, 1968. City officials reported some firebomb incidents in response to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mourners, some carrying flags, parade down Seventh Avenue near 112th Street in Harlem on April 7, 1968, on their way to attend memorial service for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in Central Park. It is estimated that 5,500 persons participated in the march.
Politicians and civil rights leaders march arm-in-arm through Central Park on their way to a memorial service for the slain Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on April 7, 1968. Linking arms from left to right are, Eugene Callender, in sunglasses; New York City Mayor John Lindsay; the mayor's wife, Mary Lindsay, in sunglasses; Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker; New York Gov. Nelson Rockefeller; Charles Kenyatta; and the Rev. Bernard Holiday. Several thousand persons marched through Harlem to Central Park where some 12,000 mourners attended the service.
AP/Harvey Lippman
Part of a crowd estimated at 12,000 persons listens to New York Mayor John V. Lindsay during memorial service for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the bandshell in Central Park on April 7, 1968. Lindsay praised King as "A martyr; a man of peace; a man of the ages," and he said "not even death itself could defeat him."
AP/Harvey Lippman
"We Shall Overcome" is sung by dignitaries during memorial service to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the band shell at Central Park in New York, April 7, 1968. From left are: New York Mayor John V. Lindsay; the Rev. Earl B. Moore of St. Paul's Baptist Church, New York; unidentified; the Rev. Wyatt Tee Walker, former aide of Dr. King; Bishop Horace W.B. Donogan of the New York Episcopal Church; New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller; Archbishop Terence J. Cooke of the Roman Catholic Church and Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton.
Crowd gathers in Times Square on April 4, 1969 to pay tribute to the late Dr. Martin Luther King, assassinated one year before in Memphis, Tenn. A large poster of Dr. King is displayed with the words: "Nonviolence... our most potent weapon."
Library of Congress
A mural of Martin Luther King Jr. mural at the Marcy Houses in Brooklyn.
Library of Congress
A Martin Luther King Jr. mural near Frederick Douglass Boulevard and West 154th Street in Harlem.
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