Civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., was fatally shot as he stood outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968. The 39-year-old minister, known for preaching nonviolence in the crusade for civil rights, was in Memphis in support of striking city sanitation workers. Escaped convict James Earl Ray was convicted of King’s murder but later recanted his confession. In spite of lingering controversy surrounding his guilt, Ray served a life sentence for the crime until his death in 1998.