On April 5, 1968, this appeared on the Post’s editorial page:

A Cruel and Wanton Act

Martin Luther King is the victim of a cruel and wanton act that will be deplored from one end of this country to the other. There is about this assault upon the great Negro leader the same kind of wanton senselessness that overtook the man whose tactics he emulated--Mahatma Ghandi. Men of good will, noble purpose and pacific impulses enjoy no immunity from violence, no matter how they shun it in their personal conduct.

Those who are responsible for this vile deed have killed an unoffending, God-fearing and innocent man of great goodwill; they have also killed something in the spirit and heart of the American people where lived the bright hope for reconciliation between the races.

That hope will be resurrected... It is possible to kill men like Martin Luther King, but the ideas for which they stand are not mortal or destructible. Americans of Negro and white descent alike, of all races and of all creeds, will gather around the principles that he espoused and carry his messag to the multitudes.

Let this crime become the occasion for uniting the Negro and white community in behalf of the principles of social justice, racial equality and nonviolence.

More on Martin Luther King, Jr.:

Hampton Sides remembers the man, not the saint.