#N12BX:  Martin Luther King Jr. assassinated 50 years ago today

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NEW YORK -

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Martin Luther King Jr.

King was shot and killed on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.  

He was 39 years old. The civil rights leader was in Memphis to support sanitation workers who were on strike. 

His speech just one day prior to his death, "I've Been to the Mountaintop," would go on to be one of King's most memorable speeches. 

He was killed the next day on the balcony of the motel he was staying at.

James Earl Ray pleaded guilty to killing King but later recanted his plea. Ray was sentenced to 99 years in prison.

King's death sparked race riots in cities across the country. However, King's death did not stop the nonviolent protests he had been promoting. 

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