The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.

2016, revised 2017
120" x 52”
Archival print

Martin Luther is assassinated by a single sniper's bullet while standing on the balcony outside room 306 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, at 6:01pm on April 4th, 1968. King was in Memphis supporting striking African American sanitation workers and had given his famous speech the night before at the Mason Temple:

And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats... or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it 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! And so I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!

The image is assembled from several hundred manipulated and colorized photographs by Joseph Louw, crime scene and found photos as well as stills from archival films. His alleged assassin, a local fugitive, James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to the crime and was convicted to 99 years at a Memphis State Penitentiary where he died in 1998. In the civil case Coretta Scott King v. Loyd Jowers in 1999, a jury found that King had been the victim of assassination by a conspiracy involving the Memphis police as well as federal agencies.