APRIL 4, 1968

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated outside the Lorraine Motel where he was staying in Memphis. He had come there to support sanitation workers in their strike. 

“The Lord called me into life, and He will call me into death,” he said in an interview before his assassination. “I’ve known the fear of dying. Yes, I lived with that fear in Montgomery and in Birmingham, down in the State of Alabama, when brother fell upon brother in 1963. … I’ve conquered the fear of dying, and a man that’s conquered the fear of dying has conquered everything.”

Opening a leather Bible, he read,  “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.” 

More than 300,000 attended his funeral — the same number that now annually visits the National Civil Rights Museum, which has preserved part of the hotel where King stayed.

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The stories of investigative reporter Jerry Mitchell have helped put four Klansmen and a serial killer behind bars. His stories have also helped free two people from death row, exposed injustices and corruption, prompting investigations and reforms as well as the firings of boards and officials. He is a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a longtime member of Investigative Reporters & Editors, and a winner of more than 30 other national awards, including a $500,000 MacArthur “genius” grant. After working for three decades for the statewide Clarion-Ledger, Mitchell left in 2019 and founded the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.