New Documentary Shows Unseen Footage of Martin Luther King’s Murder

The Smithsonian has uncovered footage from the day Martin Luther King Jr. was murdered that has not been seen since it aired live on April 4, 1968.

By Jorge Rivas Dec 08, 2011

On Wednesday the Smithsonian Channel announced it will air "MLK: The Assassination Tapes," a new documentary that includes footage culled primarily from local news in Memphis, Tenn., where the civil rights leader was murdered on April 4, 1968. Most of the footage hasn’t been seen on television since it originally aired. The documentary includes interviews with locals, including Vince Hughes, who was a 20-year-old Memphis police dispatcher on his second day of work when King was killed. Hughes kept audiotapes of police calls on that day and crime scene photos from where King was shot. "MLK: The Assassination Tapes captures the frantic manhunt for MLK’s assassin, the riots that erupted across the country, and the desperate pleas for peace from President Lyndon Johnson and presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy," reads the Smithsonian Channel’s press release. The documentary is said to include footage of Coretta Scott King and her children marching in Memphis just days after King’s death, in support of the striking workers. The film is also supposed to include a perspective from black community members on the days after his murder. According to Tom Jennings, who produced "MLK: The Assassination Tapes," the filmmakers went to radio station WDIA to collect interviews from black Memphis residents at the time because the white owned networks didn’t have such interviews. The documentary will air on the Smithsonian Channel on Feb. 12.