King, arguably the 20th century’s most famous civil rights leader, was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4 1968. He was in Memphis to support 1,300 sanitation workers who were in the throes of a bitter, difficult strike. The night before he was murdered, King delivered his eloquent “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech to strikers, their family members and supporters who had crammed into Mason Temple in the city.
History points to King’s poignant, powerful words as an eerie foreshadowing of the fate that was to befall him the next day. King’s last speech was a testament to his commitment to the labor movement, showing recognition that labor’s fight for economic justice and dignity were intertwined with the civil rights movement.