Gives Views on the Assasination of Rights Crusader
Muhammad Speaks Newspaper
P.O Box 44261
Detroit, MI 48244
Gives Views on the Assasination of Rights Crusader,
Dr. Martin Luther King
Reprinted from the April 19,1968 edition of Muhammad Speaks Newspaper
By Abdul Basit Naeem
When a civil rights march in Memphis, Teen.,organized and led by Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr., in support of the local striking sanitation
workers developed a bit of unexpected disorder, it was invariably
described by the news media as a”mini-riot,” “not a particularly severe
out-break, as these things go now-adays” and “a Dr. King foray . . .
turned fiasco. “YET IT is common knowledge that Memphis Mayor Henry Loeb
requested – and Gov. Buford Ellington responded with – 4,000 National
Guards :just minutes after the first (store ) window was broken on Beale
Street . . . .”An additional 8,000 troops were placed on standby alert.
The authorities moved with such alacrity to contain the minor
disturbance, it was explained, in order to ” avoid the catastrophe that
struck in Detroit and elsewhere last summer. . . ”
The chief leaders of the march,of course, were forced to abandon the
demonstration. At lease one newspaper, however, described the Rev.
Dr.King’s flight to safety thusly. “Dr. King got away unscathed. . .
though many of his fellow-marchers were not so fortunate. . . ”
“Got away unscathed . . .” Just what did this ominous wording imply?
While wondering and thinking out aloud, I happened to look at the
newspaper photos of Dr.King taken at the moment the march was being
dispersed.These, to me,clearly reflected hurt as well as fright. I could
not help but surmise that, perhaps for some strange or unknown reason,
the “mini- riot” in Memphis must have proven an extremely harrowing
experience for the renowned Black civil rights leader.
A FEW days later-on Thursday,April 4 – came the shocking and distressing
news, initially via radio and television “bulletins,” that Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. was no more. Back in Memphis for another try at leading a
:positively peaceful” demonstration in behalf of the city’s sanitation
men, he was cut down by a white assassin’s bullet fired from a 30.06
Remington pump rifle. (Up to the time of this writing,the assailant was
still at large.)
Then,as disbelief and extreme anguish and grief compelled many Black men
and women across the nation to take to the streets, there began what must
be called and unparalleled spectacle of white praises, plaudits and
euologies for Martin Luther King, a “great American leader . . . who so
well loved this land.” Participation in the seemingly spontaneous
outburst of white love for the fallen Black leader were virtually all
“Great Society” spokesman – all the way from LBJ to those eminent opinion
makers who only a week before were severely critical of “Dr. King’s
Memphis antics” and were unequivocally demanding that he abandon his
plans to lead a “poor people’s march” April 22 on the nation’s capital.
“WITH THE killing of Martin Luther King,”stated Columnist Harriet Van
Horne in the New York Post (dated April 5) “the white man’s burden grows
significantly heavier. It is heavy with guilt, sorrow and shame. And
shrouding the burden is the cold certainty that a violent society, a
society dominated by whites and scarred with hate triggered that rifle in
Memphis Pronounced another New York Post editorial article : ” … The
great. unresolved moral crisis haunting the nation is now drawn more
sharply and clearly than ever . . . ”
” The assassin’s bullet that extinguished the life of Dr. Martin King has
struck deep into the fabric or this country and has torn into the fiber
of every American of every race,color and creed. . .”, said a New York
Times editorial. “…Dr.King murder is a national disaster” THE DAILY
N.Y. News was far more candid and to the point in its memorial note:
“Even those who most disliked and feared Dr. King should, we feel, pay
respectful tribute to his memory. “The News deplored the riot in Memphis
that erupted from a protest parade which Dr. King led and hoped would be
non-violent. We rather dreaded his planned poor people’s march’on
Washington. We hope any such plans now will be abandoned. . .”