On April 4th of 1968, Martin Luther King Junior was shot and killed while standing on a balcony at a motel in Memphis. The 39-year-old civil rights leader was in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers. King’s murder happened the same week that President Lyndon Johnson announced on live TV that he would not seek another term in office, even though he had already campaigned in the Wisconsin Democratic primary…a primary won by Senator Eugene McCarthy.
The shooting of King was immortalized in the U2 song “Pride (In the Name of Love).” The song takes poetic license when it says “Early morning, April 4,” while King actually was shot around 6 o’clock at night. In recent years, singer Bono has changed the line in live performance to “early evening, April 4.”
Early that evening, news bulletins about King disrupted the usual Thursday night TV lineups…which included “Bewitched,” “Daniel Boone,” “Ironside,” and “The Flying Nun.” In sports, the Milwaukee Bucks hired Larry Costello to become their first coach…after Marquette University wouldn’t let Al McGuire take the job, in 1968, yesterday in La Crosse.