A shot rings out and a King dies. But for 64 minutes, the issue is in doubt.
At 6:01 pm on April 4th, 1968, Martin Luther King was shot. He was pronounced dead at 7:05 pm at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Memphis, TN after a failed attempt at open cardiac massage. He was 39 years old.
King was standing on the balcony outside room 306 on the second floor of the Lorraine Motel when, in the words of biographer Taylor Branch, time on the balcony turned lethal and King’s sojourn on earth went blank. But why? What kind of damage did that bullet do? Was King doomed the moment that piece of lead crashed through him? Is there any action that might have saved his life as he lay supine on that balcony, bleeding profusely from a wound to his right jaw and neck?
In truth, he wasn’t pronounced dead for 64 interminable minutes. Was he, in fact, alive during that time? Was there ever a chance he could have been saved by the relatively crude trauma care of 1968? And how about today? If King was shot in 2013, might he survive?
A seminal work of creative nonfiction that you won’t be able to put down This work shows what happened in the 64 minutes of confusion that followed Martin Luther King’s fatal wounding. It’s an intense, dramatic depiction of the struggle to save his life back in 1968.
And did you know that not one but two people died at the Lorraine Motel that evening? Discover how the deaths were weirdly related. And what, do you suppose, might transpire if the same injury occurred today with our modern trauma system? I answer that question as well, and it just might surprise you.
1968 was a time of fear and turmoil in our country. April 4th was one of the worst days of that year. And it all came down to just 64 minutes. 64 minutes that changed our country, indeed the world, forever. Hear about it right here.