Assassination of Martin Luther King
It’s so important to feel part of something. It doesn’t have to be big – you don’t have to be famous. You just have to give a part of yourself, and have a voice for change. I wasn’t a leader but a little seed – I had a voice
Jean Stallings was a young mother in the early 1960s. She joined the National Welfare Rights Organisation (NWRO) which fought for the right to a decent standard of living. ‘The meetings gave us a sense of safety. I felt so good there.’ Their aims fitted with Martin Luther King’s Poor People’s Campaign, insisting that economic and civil rights went hand in hand.
On April 3rd 1968, Martin Luther King arrived in Memphis to lead a march in support of the sanitation workers’ strike. He spoke that evening, giving what many say was his most powerful speech:
On April 4th, he was assassinated. Standing on the balcony of his room at The Lorraine Motel, Dr King leaned over the balcony to greet supporters and was shot by a sniper’s bullet. He was 39 years old.
You can hear Journey to Justice patron Jean Stallings interviewed on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour in October 2018:
Some people remained determined to continue King’s non-violent tactics while others called for a more forceful response. The Black Power movement, with its emphasis on pride in black identity, culture and politics, strengthened. Rejuvenated liberation movements began to appear on the American – and global – landscapes, including those for women and LGBT people. But true freedom and equality have still not been achieved in the USA:
The civil rights movement remains a universal symbol for those who struggle for human rights on every continent.