Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would have turned 89 on Jan. 15. But today we celebrate his life and legacy with cover images made available through the EBONY archives.

Take some time this MLK weekend to reflect on the life of the slain Civil Rights leader, as documented through the lens and words of EBONY.

November 1962

Dr. King’s first EBONY cover came in 1962, where we highlighted the reverend’s early civil rights work and placed him among fellow thinkers such as Booker T. Washington working towards a brighter future for our people.

November 1963


One year later, EBONY provided extensive coverage of the 1963 March on Washington. Some 250,000 people gathered in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. for the protest where MLK gave his famous, “I Have a Dream” speech.

May 1965


EBONY continued to document the movement within the pages of its May 1965 issue, where we highlighted the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, AL. In an effort to register black voters in the South, protesters marching the 54-mile route from Selma to the state capital  were confronted with deadly violence from local authorities and white vigilante groups.  The historic march, and Martin Luther King Jr.’s participation in it, raised awareness of the difficulties faced by black voters, and the need for a national Voting Rights Act.

May 1968


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. The following month, EBONY dedicated its May issue to the slain leader.

April 1970


Two years after his assassination, EBONY publicized film, King: A Filmed Record… Montgomery to Memphis. The biography documented Martin Luther King Jr. and his creation and leadership of the nonviolent campaign for civil rights and social and economic justice in the Civil Rights Movement. 

November 2017


Later that year, EBONY sat down with civil rights activist and widow Coretta Scott-King, where she spoke on the passing of her husband, coping with his loss and continuing to fight for justice even after his assassination.

January 1986

photo by Moneta Sleet Jr.

photo by Moneta Sleet Jr.

EBONY continued to keep King’s name alive well into the 1980’s, with this January 1986 issue including several features highlighting his continued contributions to social justice, including a career perspective penned by widow, Coretta Scott King.

April 2006

mlk 8

EBONY dedicated its April 2006 issue to the passing of Coretta Scott King, including an exclusive piece highlighting her relationship with Dr. King and how their civil rights efforts helped steer the country in a more progressive direction.


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