Buffalo will host its first King’s Legacy March on Wednesday April 4th as a re-enactment of the “I Am A Man” Sanitation Strike/March and to commemorate Dr. Martin Luther King’s legacy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.
The community is urged to participate. Marchers will assemble at Antioch Baptist Church, 1327 Fillmore Avenue at 4:30 p.m. to march into MLK Park. The event was organized by Western New York Federations AFL-CIO, AFSCME, the NAACP, CBTU, the National Action Network, CEJ, CSEA, the Buffalo Urban League and the City of Buffalo. For more information call (716) 852-0375.
In 1968 Dr. King traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, in support of striking African American city sanitation workers who had staged a walkout on February 11 to protest unequal wages and working conditions imposed by then-mayor Henry Loeb. At the time, Memphis paid Black workers significantly lower wages than Whites. Several sanitation workers had been killed on the job due to unsafe working conditions. In addition, unlike White workers, Black workers received no pay if they stayed home during bad weather; consequently, most Blacks were compelled to work even in driving rain and snowstorms.
On April 3, King returned to Memphis to address a gathering at the Mason Temple (World Headquarters of the Church of God in Christ). His airline flight to Memphis was delayed by a bomb threat but he made his planned speech. King delivered the speech, now known as the “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” address.
On Thursday, April 4, 1968, King was staying in room 306 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.
King had gone out onto the balcony and was standing near his room when he was struck at 6:01 p.m. by a single .30-06 bullet fired from a Remington Model 760 rifle.The bullet entered through King’s right cheek, breaking his jaw and several vertebrae as it traveled down his spinal cord, severing his jugular vein and major arteries in the process, before lodging in his shoulder. The force of the shot ripped off King’s necktie.
King was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital. He never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m. He was 39 years old.
On April 8, King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, together with the couple’s four small children, led a crowd estimated at 40,000 in a silent march through the streets of Memphis to honor the fallen leader and support the cause of the city’s Black sanitation workers