The Assassination of Dr. King: A Firsthand Account

The Rev. Samuel "Billy" Kyles

The Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles, former pastor of Monumental Baptist Church, was on the balcony with Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, and tells of those final moments, the aftermath, and the meaning that people drew from the tragic event. He recalled finally hearing about the fate of King, “We never used the word ‘death’ […] They never said ‘he died’ […] We say, ‘we lost him, we lost him.'”

See more of the story in this edition of Moments in Civil Rights History:

The Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

See more stories about King’s assassination in the following firsthand accounts:

Dr. King: The Movement and the Legacy

A Child Learns of Dr. King’s Assassination

Stax: James Alexander of the Bar Kays

Racism and the Impact of the Civil Rights Leaders