Martin Luther Kings Death
While organizing the poor people's campaign, king went to Memphis, Tenn. , to support a strike of black GARBAGEMAN. There on April 4, 1968, king was shot and killed. James Earl Ray, a white drifter and escaped convict, pleaded guilty to the crime in March 1969 and was sentenced to 99 years in prison. King was buried in South View Cemetery in Atlanta. His body was later moved near Ebenezer Baptist church. King's assassination produced immediate shock, grief, and anger. Blacks rioted in more than 100 cities. A few months later, congress passed the civil rights act of 1968. In 1980, an area including king's birthplace, church, and burial place became the Martin Luther King, Jr., National Historic Site. In 1983, congress passed a federal holiday honoring king. The day is celebrated on the thrid Monday in January. In 1991, the National Civil Rights museum opened at the site of king's assassination in Memphis.