A screaming ambulance rushed a mortally wounded Dr. Martin Luther King through Memphis to St. Joseph Hospital – a Catholic hospital. King, a Baptist minister, had reportedly asked to be taken to a Catholic hospital should anything happen to him.
He was in Memphis for the third time in 17 days because of protests involving striking sanitation workers. Only 24 hours earlier the well-known civil rights activist delivered his now-famous “mountaintop” speech at the Church of God in Christ headquarters located in the Mason Temple. King told the crowd that “something is happening in Memphis; something is happening in our world.”
He went on to eerily conclude his speech with the now-legendary words: “Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop . . . Like anybody, I would like to live - a long life; longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now . . . But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land. So I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
And now, just a day later, he was clinging to life in an ambulance.
The date was April 4, 1968.
It was shortly after 6 p.m. and the temperature, which had topped out at 72 in Memphis that day, was still pleasantly hovering around 60.
The sprawling campus of St