The Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Progressive commissioned this illustration for an article about the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr. It focused on the unseen factors that contributed to the killing. It also reported on the writer's personal reaction to it.

I remember learning about the assassination when I was in high school. I remember being sad about it because Dr. King seemed like such an amazing person. What I couldn't fathom at the time was how important the man - or his death - were to his contemporaries.

Now that I have experienced a little history, I appreciate that his death was much more than a tragic headline. History is what it is because it transcends news. It affects the world profoundly because it changes the world minutely. In our political lives, our professional lives, and our personal lives. I was in Oregon for example when the Twin Towers were destroyed but, from thousands of miles away, their collapse transformed my life. It traumatized me of course. But it also gave me presence of mind. It inspired me to live better. And it gave me determination. I left a job because of it. I wrote a book because of it. I broke up with a girl because of it. I even lost some friends because of it. I couldn't see the connections at the time but I can't deny them now. I was distraught. Our whole nation was. And our reactions changed the world.

9/11 awoke me to the fact that we are living now in our children's history books. Will the next page be bring plague or penicillin? Will we give the world a revolution, a war, or another golden age?

© 2010 rama hughes