The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. led directly to hip-hop, an era of black American culture, politics, and art that is often contrasted with his legacy.
The day after King’s death, the writer-activist wrote a poem about what his loss meant to a movement. Fifty years later, she discusses how his model of leadership lives on.
On the 50th anniversary of King’s death, here’s a look at how he’s been covered in The Atlantic.
In the months leading up to his assassination, King’s greatest focus was on poverty and economic injustice.
“We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom.”
Five days after King was assassinated, his “spiritual mentor” Benjamin Mays delivered a eulogy for his former student.
The Georgia congressman on what it was like to know the iconic activist
The campaign against Jim Crow was always embedded in a larger global battle against white supremacy.
Fifty years ago today, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I've Been to the Mountaintop” speech in Memphis, one day before his assassination. After this champion of nonviolent protest was murdered, riots broke out in more than 100 cities across the U.S.
In order to evaluate what Martin Luther King Jr.’s stance of nonviolence has contributed to our current view of protest, it bears noting that the concept of his nonviolence has been flattened.
Shooting from a helicopter, the artist LaToya Ruby Frazier documented how King’s assassination affected the physical structures of cities.
Good jobs in black communities have disappeared, evictions are the norm, and extreme poverty is rising. Cities should be exploding—but they aren’t.
In excavating the story of King’s visit to Harlem Hospital, I uncovered my grandfather’s own fight for civil rights—and realized I’d misunderstood his legacy as a black doctor all along.
“A Freedom Budget for All Americans” proposed spending billions of federal dollars to provide jobs and basic welfare to all citizens.
“America is cool because of black people. Our music is black. Our aesthetic is black … We are as American as you can be, and what do we get for it?”
Americans both black and white often use the civil-rights leader’s memory more to chide black youth than to inspire them.
The designer of our Martin Luther King Jr. special edition describes his inspiration.
In early 1968, the activist planned a massive protest in the nation’s capital.
On Easter Sunday in 1958, the civil-rights leader led a “prayer pilgrimage” in Montgomery, Alabama, to protest the inequality of a young man's death sentence.
Martin Luther King Jr. was a master television producer, but the networks had a narrow view of what the black struggle for equality could look like.
Delivered two months before he died, “The Drum Major Instinct” saw the preacher give his own eulogy.
Martin Luther King Jr. on what sparked the violent urban riots of the “long hot summer” of 1967
Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream of an integrated America was about creating a more equal society, but to many white homeowners, it was a threat.
The nation’s problem isn’t that we don’t have enough money. It’s that we don’t have the moral capacity to face what ails society.
In 1967, the civil-rights leader foresaw that white resistance to racial equality would stiffen as activists’ economic agenda grew more ambitious.
Fifty years ago, Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed, and then America created a version of him that it could love.
Activist Bree Newsome on bridging the divided perspectives of the young and old.
In June 1965, the Voting Rights Act languished in the House Rules Committee after passage in the Senate. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote this letter to the New York Amsterdam News urging its passage as the first step in ensuring access to the ballot.
In preparing this special issue on Dr. King and his legacy, we scoured the magazine’s pages looking for articles that might give historical context to the struggle for which he lived and died.
She was far more than her husband’s helpmate, but along with many other leaders of the era, her leadership was hidden in plain sight.
“The greatest irony and tragedy of all is that our nation, which initiated so much of the revolutionary spirit of the modern world, is now cast in the mold of being an arch anti-revolutionary.”
Ten years after Brown v. Board of Education, Martin Luther King Jr. condemned how little had changed in the nation's classrooms.
The civil-rights activist’s vision for education was far grander than integration alone. How disappointed he would be.
Incarcerated people today aren’t so lucky.
The death of Martin Luther King Jr. wasn’t a galvanizing event, but the premature end of a movement that had only just begun.
Racism was only the first.
Before he led the Montgomery bus boycott or marched on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr. was a chain-smoking, pool-playing student at Crozer Theological College just discovering his passion for social justice.
The artist’s works turn the brutality of history inside out.
Jesmyn Ward reflects on choosing to raise her children in her home state.
During another polarizing period in America’s history, Bernice A. King lays out three actions that she thinks her father would offer today.
Five decades after the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., equality, for many, remains a distant dream.