MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A historical marker commemorating the final flight of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be dedicated at Memphis International Airport on April 3. Former congressman and United Nations ambassador Andrew Young, King’s chief aide and confidante, will speak at the event. Young was with the civil rights leader on that final flight and when King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis.
Also participating will be John Hope Bryant, founder and CEO of national nonprofit Operation HOPE, and Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland. The ceremony will begin at 9 a.m. in the airport’s B ticketing lobby.
King, who promoted civil rights activism through nonviolence, arrived in Memphis on the morning of April 3, 1968, on Eastern Airlines Flight 381. Later that day he delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” sermon at Mason Temple Church of God in Christ.
On April 4 as King stood on a second-floor balcony at the Lorraine Motel in Downtown Memphis, James Earl Ray shot him at 6:01 p.m. After emergency surgery at nearby St. Joseph’s Hospital, King was pronounced dead an hour later.
The marker will be dedicated on the 49th anniversary of King’s last flight, and it will begin a series of events throughout Memphis leading up to the observance of the 50th anniversary of his death in 2018.
Andrew Young will be in Memphis filming the Andrew Young Presents documentary, “From Civil Rights to Silver Rights: Where Do We Go From Here — Chaos or Community? Continuing the Unfinished Work of the Poor People’s Campaign.”
The historical marker is sponsored by First Tennessee Bank, which is part of First Horizon National Corp.