LIFE Exclusive! The Day MLK Died

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No longer a newbie, moving up!
Oct 18, 2005
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LIFE Exclusive! The Day MLK Died

"On April 4, 1968, LIFE photographer Henry Groskinsky and writer Mike Silva, on assignment in Alabama, learned that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had been shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. They raced to the scene and there, incredibly, had unfettered access to the hotel grounds, Dr. King's room, and the surrounding area. For reasons that have been lost in the intervening years, the photographs taken that night and the next day were never published. Until now."

It is only about a dozen pictures but I found them interesting.
Fascinating. Henry Grosinksy gets extra credit. I think I would have an easier time photographing dead puppies. Imagine the overwhelming sense of loss and sadness. Not to mention being the only white man there. With a camera. I shudder to think.

Love & Bass
Those were some amazing photos.

Having done my M.A. thesis on the Civil Rights Movement, the one thing I always noticed was that white journalists were hardly, if ever, assaulted by black people. They were always assaulted by the white mobs because they were seen as "outside agitators." They were no better than CORE members or SNCC in the eyes of racist Southerners--they were "New York City N***R Loving Jews."

Having researched the efforts of MLK, Andrew Young, and James Farmer, I would tend to think that any ill will they would have had toward the photographer would have been due to his intrusion on their grief, NOT that he was a white guy. The "Northeastern Press" (was there really any other relevant press in that era?) had been immensely helpful and was a useful tool in the arsenal of the CRM.

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