Most Americans associate Martin Luther King Jr. with the federal holiday that honors his life and work.
But for lawmakers inspired by King, the day of his death is also a time for remembrance. April 4 was the day in 1968 that King was assassinated in Memphis while standing on a balcony outside his motel room. King, who was in Memphis to support striking sanitation workers, was 39.
Here’s part of a piece that appeared on The Washington Post’s editorial page on April 5, 1968:
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. . . . 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.
A handful of lawmakers took to Twitter on Monday to pay their respects to King. Here are some of their tributes:
48 yrs ago today, my friend, my brother, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and killed in Memphis, TN. The light of his life still shines.
— John Lewis (@repjohnlewis) April 4, 2016
— Rep. Carlos Curbelo (@RepCurbelo) April 4, 2016
— Rep Donna F Edwards (@repdonnaedwards) April 4, 2016
On this day 48 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. We must continue to keep Dr. King's dream alive. pic.twitter.com/S3G0AKpL8G
— G. K. Butterfield (@GKButterfield) April 4, 2016
Today marks the 48th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's death. His call for justice continues to speak to all of us.
— Rep David Cicilline (@RepCicilline) April 4, 2016
#OTD in 1968, civil rights leader Martin Luther King was assassinated—I join in honoring his life & legacy, which made US more just & equal.
— Senator Gary Peters (@SenGaryPeters) April 4, 2016
On this day, 48 years ago, our nation lost a great leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. pic.twitter.com/hL2e3F8zH6
— Rep. Marcia L. Fudge (@RepMarciaFudge) April 4, 2016
"I just want to leave a committed life behind." – Martin Luther King, Jr., "The Drum Major Instinct" (1968).
— Rep. Alan Grayson (@AlanGrayson) April 4, 2016