Photography exhibit captures 'raw grief' after Martin Luther King's assassination

The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., has a story today about an exhibit of photographs taken in Memphis and Atlanta in the days immediately following the April 4, 1968, assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King in Memphis.

Photographer Burk Uzzle captured images of friends and family members viewing King's body at a Memphis funeral home, as well as pictures of the funeral procession back in Atlanta. Some of the images in the exhibit were published in news magazines at the time, while others had never been printed.

"This is not art," Uzzle is quick to say, but a record. The 20 photographs capture the raw grief of people who knew and loved King, the shock of those who believed in the hope and inevitability of his message, and the indifference of those who believed one nation could live as two races, together but apart.

Uzzle is a native of Raleigh who now lives about 50 miles away in the small town of Wilson. King had been scheduled to travel to Wilson before he was fatefully called to Memphis that April.


He was supposed to come to Wilson on April 5, 1968. He had accepted an invitation by local black leaders to come and speak at Jackson Chapel First Missionary Baptist Church, and on the lawn of the library. There was to be a march.

"I was going to march," Cornell Jones recalled last week. Jones was 21 years old in 1968, working in a chicken-processing plant in Wilson. He was enthralled by King, wanted to be a part of what he was doing, wanted to walk down the street in broad daylight and say he was as good as anybody else.

People had been making preparations. King was supposed to come in on the train, and residents had planned to meet him at the station.

But King was called away to Memphis instead

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