A Somber Day in American History

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">Slain civil rights leader</span></div>
April 4, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The 40th anniversary of the assassination of Doctor Martin Luther King, JuniorThe grim day seemed appropriate for the somber milestone.

Friday, hundreds came back to what would have otherwise been very unremarkable. It is a pilgrimage to the tragic marker in American history, the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. They came to remember, where King's life ended and his legacy began.

Reverend Jesse Jackson, a former assistant to Martin Luther King, Jr. describes what happened when King was shot, "It hit him and knocked him against this door here. He was obviously dead upon impact."

40 years after James Earl Ray pulled the trigger, the impact of Martin Luther King, Jr. Lives on.

Vigils, across the country, drew out politicians, civil rights leaders and others looking to commemorate the gifted orator, the social activist, the visionary, the father. Many describe his final speech on April 3rd, 1968, the eve of his death, as prophetic.

"I may not get there with you, but what I want you to know tonight is that we as a people will get to the promise land."

At 39, he proclaimed he had already been to the mountaintop.

King had come to Memphis to march with sanitation workers striking over unfair treatment and pay. They are among those honoring him here today.