MLK assassination: How Walter Cronkite covered the April 4, 1968 tragedy

 

On April 4, 1968, Walter Cronkite, then-anchor of the “CBS Evening News​,” went on air with a detailed report on the shooting and the nation’s reaction to the tragedy

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was standing on the balcony of the old Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, when he was shot dead 50 years ago today. King, an iconic pastor who led non-violent protests against racial inequality in the civil rights movement, later died at a hospital. He was 39.

That night, Walter Cronkite — then-anchor of the “CBS Evening News” — went on air with a detailed report on the shooting and the nation’s reaction to the tragedy.

The April 4, 1968 broadcast

“Dr. Martin Luther King, the apostle of non-violence in the civil rights movement, has been shot to death in Memphis, Tennessee,” Cronkite said. “Police have issued an all-points bulletin for a well-dressed, young white man seen running from the scene. Officers also reportedly chased and fired on a radio-equipped car containing two white men.”

“Dr. King was standing on the balcony of a second-floor hotel room tonight when, according to a companion, a shot was fired from across the street. In the friend’s words, the bullet exploded in his face,” Cronkite reported.

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