The Ghosts Of Memphis

On the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination, the men who were with him that day recall what they saw--and reflect on America's fitful progress toward realizing King's dream

Martin Luther King Jr. was 26 years old when Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus and 39 when he was murdered. Prodigies in music and math are familiar, but moral genius we typically associate with age. The gap between the brevity of King's life and its consequence is easy to state but hard to fathom, like the speed of light.

"We were all young people," the Rev. Billy Kyles muses as he recalls the colleagues surrounding King that fatal evening in Memphis, Tenn. They were vivid, vigorous, virile young men. In his last hour alive, King...

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