Later in the day Kennedy and I both heard at about the same time that the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had been assassinated in Memphis. I was stunned, and tried to absorb the impact on myself and my country. Kennedy insisted on going to an African-American neighborhood in Indianapolis where he stood on the bed of a pickup truck and broke the news of the assassination to a shocked crowd, urging them to reflect, forgive, and to love with these immortal words: “What we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but love, wisdom and compassion toward one another.”
King’s assassination at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, as he prepared to support striking city sanitation workers, is one of those moments for which everyone remembers where they were when they found out. Fellow Daytonian Charlotte McGuire (currently a member of the Ohio State Board of Education) remembers that she was then a high school senior in Memphis. She and her classmates were waiting in downtown Memphis, getting ready for the upcoming protest march that was to be led by King. Devastated by the news, Charlotte rushed home to be with her family so that her parents could help all of them find comfort in this outrageous murder.