On Thursday, April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated while standing on a balcony outside his second-floor room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. King was in Memphis to support a sanitation workers' strike and was on his way to dinner when a shot struck him in the jaw and severed his spinal cord. King was pronounced dead after his arrival at a Memphis hospital. He was 39 years old. On April 3, the night before his assassination, King gave his last sermon, saying, “Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live – a long life; longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord."
News of King’s assassination spread, and riots broke out in cites all across the United States. The riots resulted in more than 40 deaths nationwide and extensive property damage in over 100 American cities.
On April 9, King was laid to rest in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to pay tribute to King’s casket as it passed by in a wooden farm cart drawn by two mules.
Click picture for MLK on foreign stamps
Issued in 2005 as part of the
"To Form a More Perfect Union" pane of ten stamps
Issued in 2013
Issued in January 1979 as the second stamp in the Black Heritage series
Issued in 2005
Issued in 1999 as part of the "Celebrate the Century: 1960s" pane of 15 stamps