#MLK50: A timeline of Martin Luther King Jr.'s final year

Fifty years ago, on April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King Jr., who preached nonviolent resistance to oppression and war, was shot to death in Memphis. He was 39 years old. He left behind a wife and four children and a nation still riven by the divisions he had devoted his life to healing. Yahoo News takes a look back at his life and his legacy in this special report. Jonathan Darman assesses King as a man not without flaws, but with a passion for justice and a conviction that grace can still be found here among us sinners on earth. Senior Editor Jerry Adler looks back on the fateful last year of King’s life, beginning with his electrifying, and controversial, Riverside Church address against the war in Vietnam. National Correspondent Holly Bailey goes back to Selma, Ala., whose poverty moved King to increasingly turn his focus to economic justice, and finds not much has changed in the years since. Reporter Michael Walsh looks at how King almost died in an attack a decade earlier, and how the knowledge of his mortality shaped his ministry and message.

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Martin Luther King Jr. through the years
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Martin Luther King Jr. through the years
circa 1953: Headshot of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr (1929 - 1968), American civil rights leader and pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, wearing his vestments. (Photo by Michael Evans/New York Times Co./Getty Images)
Former Senator Lehman presents 'Americans for Democratic Action' scroll to Reverend Martin Luther King at the Astor Hotel. February 03, 1961. (Photo by William N. Jacobellis/New York Post Archives /(c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)
Dr Martin Luther King Jr, the civil rights campaigner and famous orator, portrait of a young man, in a black suit and tie with his head tilted., 1955. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Reverend Ralph Abernathy are shown 'integrating' one of the first buses in Montgomery, Alabama, in 1955. This scene is from the striking three-hour feature film, King: A Filmed Record. . .Montgomery to Memphis, to be presented for the first time on television on WPIX TV, Channel 11, Tuesday, April 4, from 7:30 to 10:30 p.m., in observance of the fourth anniversary of the death of Dr. King. 1955.
American civil rights leader, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968) speaks as pastor of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, Montgomery, Alabama, March 20, 1956. (Photo by George Tames/New York Times Co./Getty Images)
MONTGOMERY, AL - MAY 1956: Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. relaxes at home in May 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
MONTGOMERY, AL - MAY 1956: Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. relaxes at home with his family in May 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
MONTGOMERY, AL - MAY 1956: Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. relaxes at home with his family in May 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
MONTGOMERY, AL - MAY 13: Civil rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. speaks with people after delivering a sermon on May 13, 1956 in Montgomery, Alabama. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Civil rights leader Rev. Martin Luther King speaking from pulpit at mass meeting about principles of non-violence before leading assembly to ride newly integrated busses after successful boycott. (Photo by Don Cravens/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. standing at the Lincoln Memorial with police officers and posing to a photographer during 'Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom' in Washington, D.C. in 1957. (Photo By Paul Schutzer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
A rear view of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 1957. (Photo By Paul Schutzer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. addressing the crowd during 'Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom' at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 1957. (Photo By Paul Schutzer/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images)
Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (C) talking to an unidentified man. (Photo by Grey Villet/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) 9/30/1958-New York, NY: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., poses with his mother (Left) and his wife at Harlem Hospital here Sept. 30th during his first newsconference since being stabbed by Mrs. Izola Curry on Sept. 20th. King said he had no ill will towards Mrs. Curry. He added that he knows thoughtful people will do all in their power to see that she gets the help she apparently needs if it becomes a free and constructive member of Society.
American Civil Rights and religious leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr (1929 - 1968) holds his infant daughter, Yolanda King (1955 - 2007), in his arms, 1956. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)
American Civil Rights and religious leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr (1929 - 1968) bends down as he speaks with a group of schoolgirls in a classroom, January 1960. (Photo by Afro American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM BENEFIT SHOW: Martin Luther King Jr., left, and an unidentified man address the crowd during the Salute to Freedom concert. (Photo By Grey Villet/The LIFE Premium Collection/Getty Images)
Martin Luther King, Jr., Close-Up During Speech, circa 1960's. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
On the campus of Atlanta University (later renamed Clark Atlanta University) to discuss 'sit-in' protests, American religious and Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr (1929 � 1968) (fore) sits with his hands on his knee, as future politician (and Washington DC mayor) Marion Barry stands behind him, Atlanta, Georgia, mid-May, 1960. (Photo by Howard Sochurek/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Civil Rights ldr. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. holding his son Martin III as his daughter Bernice and wife Coretta greet him at the airport upon his release from Georgia State prison after incarceration for leading boycotts. (Photo by Donald Uhrbrock/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
After Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is freed from jail under a $2000 appeal bond, he is greeted by his wife Coretta and children, Marty and Yoki, at the airport in Chamblee, Georgia.
Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (3R) participating in planning session for Freedom Riders' bus trip from Montgomery, Alabama to Jackson, Mississippi. (Photo by Lee Lockwood/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
Freedom Riders' leaders Reverend Metz Rollins and Martin Luther King Jr. sitting on a church bench with an unidentified person during the Freedom Rider crisis in May of 1961.
Rev. Martin Luther king (L), and attorneys Mrs. Constance Motley and William Kunstler enter their car here 7/25 after a federal judge issued a stay of another jurist's injunction against integration demonstrations at Albany, Ga. King, leader of racial demonstrations over the South, said he would return to Albany immediately.
(Original Caption) 4/12/1963-Birmingham, AL: A police officer grabs Southern integration leader Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., by the seat of his trousers in jailing him for leading an anti-segregation march.
American Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968) (center, pointig with right hand) leads a march to a rally against racial discrimination at Coho Hall, Detroit, Michigan, June 23, 1963. Among those with him are Reverend Clarence Franklin (1915 - 1984) (third from left, holding King's right arm) and Detroit mayor Jerome Cavanagh (1928 ? 1979) (second right). (Photo by Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. giving his I Have a Dream speech to huge crowd gathered for the Mall in Washington DC during the March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom (aka the Freedom March). (Photo by Francis Miller/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Overhead view of the massive crowd assembled on the Mall in front of the Reflecting Pool and between the Lincoln and Washington monuments during the civil rights March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Washington DC, August 28, 1963. It was at this rally that Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his 'I Have a Dream' speech. (Photo by Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
View of American civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968, center) at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where he would deliver his 'I Have a Dream' speech, Washington DC, 28th August 1963. (Photo by Rowland Scherman/Getty Images)
View of some of the leaders of March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom as they prepare to march, Washington DC, August 28, 1963. Among those pictured are, front row from third left, John Lewis (holding manila fodler), Matthew Ahman,Floyd B. McKissick (1922 - 1991), Dr. Martin Luther King Jr (1929 - 1968), Reverend Eugene Carson Blake (1906 - 1985), Cleveland Robinson (1914 - 1995), Joachim Prinz (hidden), unidentified (hidden), Whitney Young (1921 - 1971), Roy Wilkins (1901 - 1981), Walter Reuther (1907 - 1970), and A. Philip Randolph (1889 - 1979). The march provided the setting for Dr. King's iconic 'I Have a Dream' speech. (Photo by Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) three-quarter-length portrait, standing, face front, at a press conference. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
12th August 1964: American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968) waves with his children, Yolanda and Martin Luther III, from the 'Magic Skyway' ride at the Worlds Fair, New York City. The ride was a replica of a Ford convertible. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
President Lyndon B Johnson (1908 - 1973) discusses the Voting Rights Act with civil rights campaigner Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968). The act, part of President Johnson's 'Great Society' program trebled the number of black voters in the south, who had previously been hindered by racially inspired laws, 1965. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. holds a picture of three missing civil rights workers, Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman (l to r) during a press conference. The bodies of the three men were later found near Philadelphia, Mississippi and the
LOS ANGELES -1965: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sits at a table during The Nation Institute California Conference circa 1965 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Martin Mills/Getty Images)
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 1964 Nobel peace Prize winner and leader of the American Negro civil rights movement for more than a decade, addresses an integrated audience during a testimonial dinner in his honor here 1/27. The dinner was held in one of the city's largest downtown hotels.
American religious and Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King Jr (1929 - 1968) watches US President Lyndon Johnson on television, Selma, Alabama, March 1965. (Photo by Frank Dandridge/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)
'(from left to right) Harry Belafonte, Chairman Reverend Martin Luther King and Sammy Davis, Jr., Co-Chairmen for the Broadway Answers Selma benefit at the Majestic Theater. April 06, 1965. (Photo by Jerry Engel/New York Post Archives /(c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)'
FRANCE - OCTOBER 24: Portrait of the American Baptist Martin LUTHER KING Jr. on a trip to Paris. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in December 1964 for his peaceful action to obtain civil rights for African Americans in the USA. (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
Martin Luther King, Jr. meets with President Eisenhower at the White House. (Photo by � CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images)
Civil Rights leaders walk arm in arm at a march in Canton, Mississippi. CORE leader Floyd McKissick (c) and Stokely Carmichael of SNCC (r) support the Black Power movement while Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (l) stresses non-violent racial integration.
Martin Luther King, Jr., wearing a hat and sunglasses calls out 'All right, all right, we're gonna march, we're gonna march straight south' as he leads marchers across the Coldwater River Bridge in Coldwater, Mississippi. Dr. King resumed James Meredith' | Location: Coldwater, Mississippi, USA.
WASHINGTON - APRIL 16: FACE THE NATION featuring Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Image dated: April 16, 1967. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
A portrait of American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968), circa 1968. (Photo by RDA/Getty Images)
American civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968), watched by Dr. Charles Bousenquet, signs the Degree Roll At Newcastle University after receiving an honorary Doctor of Civil Law degree, Newcastle, England, November 14, 1967. (Photo by /Getty Images)
Dr. Martin Luther King press conference held at Sardi's West. June 20, 1967. (Photo by Vic DeLucia/New York Post Archives /(c) NYP Holdings, Inc. via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) Washington, DC: Close up of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., on the phone after delivering a sermon at the Washington Episcopal Cathedral. King predicted a 'right wing takeover and a fascist state' will develop in America by 1980, if Congress does not do more for the poor.
Members of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference sit in the room of assassinated Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr at the Lorriane Motel (#306) shortly after King's death, Memphis, Tennessee April 4, 1968. Among those present are Andrew Young (at left near lamp, with hand on chin) and Ralph Abernathy (1926 � 1990) (center rear, with round tie pin). (Photo by Henry Groskinsky/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
After the assassination of Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr outside the door of room 306 at the Lorraine Motel, a group of men stand in front of the room window on the motel's balcony, Memphis, Tennessee, April 4, 1968. Theatrice Bailey (1910 - 1982), brother of the motel's owner, stands at the right. (Photo by Henry Groskinsky/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
(Original Caption) 4/9/1968-Atlanta, GA: Mule-drawn caisson carrying the casket of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is followed by dignitaries and aids as it moves towards the campus of Morehead College for a memorial service.
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