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A Fragmented Crusade?

A Fragmented Crusade?

The Civil Rights Struggle in the Aftermath of the King Assassination, 1968–1970

(p.58) 3 A Fragmented Crusade?
After the Dream
Timothy J. MinchinJohn A. Salmond
University Press of Kentucky

Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed by James Earl Ray—an escaped convict who supported Klan efforts—as he stood on Lorraine Motel's balcony on April 4, 1968. King tried to help several people, and all of these people felt that King's death left a significant impact on their lives. Liberal hopes for racial healing went on a decline after the said event and after presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy was also assassinated. Blacks and whites were further polarized as a result of the riots that followed the assassinations. Richard Nixon's new administration, however, did not foster good relations with the civil rights groups, and they found themselves at ends with NAACP leaders who accused them of pandering. King's death particularly left a mark for the civil rights movement in terms of the fact that the media no longer had a charismatic figurehead to focus on. As such, it became difficult to initiate action protests that would draw national attention.

Keywords:   James Earl Ray, death, assassination, Richard Nixon, NAACP, civil rights groups, media, action protests, Robert Kennedy assassination

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