Human rights campaigner and Nobel laureate Martin Luther King was buried on this day in his hometown of Atlanta in the U.S. state of Georgia. He was killed five days earlier by a sniper bullet while he was participating in a campaign of supporting sanitary public works employees. Around his funeral kind of a scandal occurred. Namely, the Governor of Georgia – Lester Maddox – refused for the body of Martin Luther King to be interred at the Georgia state capitol in Atlanta. He even stationed guards on the steps of the capitol, so King’s supporters could not bring the body of the deceased.
That governor in fact considered Martin Luther King to be the “enemy of the state”. In fact, before he became governor, Maddox was the owner of a restaurant where he refused to serve blacks. He said that he would rather sell the restaurant than welcome blacks. When the Civil Rights Act abolished segregation of blacks and whites, Maddox indeed sold the restaurant and remained a stubborn segregationist. Despite this, Georgia elected him governor. Maddox also refused to lower the flag to half-mast for King, and it was only done when such an order came from the federal level. At the funeral of Martin Luther King the famous singer Mahalia Jackson sang the deceased’s favorite gospel song, “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”.