front-page-1968

On June 18, 2019, LNP celebrated its 225th anniversary. The earliest newspaper to which today’s LNP traces its roots was the Lancaster Journal, first published on June 18, 1794, by William Hamilton and Henry Willcocks from a news office located in a tavern building at the King Street site of the current LNP building.

To celebrate 225 years of Lancaster newspapers, we present this series of 52 front pages from the history of the newspapers which would eventually become LNP. 


Martin Luther King Jr. killed

In the early evening of April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr. stepped out of his room at the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee and was met with an assassin's bullet. Just a day before, King  delivered a fiery speech to striking sanitation workers at the Mason Temple. In what would later be known as the “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, King said this on the subject of his own mortality:

“Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I have looked over, and I have seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.”

It took more than an hour for an ambulance to transport King to a nearby hospital, and by then, he had died. He was 39.

The days between the assassination and King’s funeral were rife with different degrees of mourning. In Washington D.C., nearly 20,000 rioters took to the streets for days in what would be called the biggest occupation of an American city since the Civil War. In response to the riots, President Lyndon B. Johnson gave a short speech to the nation, calling King the “Apostle of Non-Violence” and saying that “the spirit of America weeps for a tragedy that denies the very meaning of our land.”

In Memphis, King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, led a march of 40,000 people through the streets. On April 9, a service was held at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, followed by a funeral procession of 100,000 that culminated at King’s alma mater, Morehouse College. A week later, the sanitation strike that brought King to Memphis would be settled, as his death had re-energized the workers.

Much of the focus on King’s death squares on what if’s and what could have beens. Before his death, King was planning what he referred to as “the Poor People’s Campaign,” a demonstration meant to shine a light on economic inequality. In the first months of 1968, King had lamented that many of his big money donors had gone quiet due to his statements against the Vietnam War. During an earlier speech to striking workers, King said “What does it profit a man to eat at an integrated lunch counter if he doesn’t have enough money to buy a hamburger?”

Sources: latimes.com; history.com