MLK's Mother Was Also Shot toDeath
Alberta Williams King(September 13, 1904 – June 30, 1974) was shot to death just 6 years after her son Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down in Memphis, Tennessee. On June 30th, 1974 Mrs. King was playing the organ in Ebenezer Baptist Church - the very church her son was baptized and later became co-pastor in along with his father- when Marcus Wayne Chenault killed her. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.
Marcus Wayne Chenault, a 23-year-old Black man from Ohio, fired two Handguns into Mrs. Kingas she sat at the organ of the Ebenezer Baptist Church. Chenault claimed that he had decided that Black ministers were a menace to Black people. He said his original target had been Martin Luther King, Sr., but he had decided to shoot his wife instead because she was close to him. One of the church's deacons, Edward Boykin, was also killed in the attack, and a woman was wounded. Chenault was sentenced to death. Although this sentence was upheld on appeal, he was later re-sentenced to life in prison, partially as a result of the King family's opposition to the death penalty. On August 3, 1995, he suffered a stroke, and was taken to a hospital, where he died.