The life of Martin Luther King Jr.
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., is seen in this undated file photo. Forty years after his assassination on April 4, 1968, after the deaths of his wife and others who knew the man and what he stood for, some say King's fate, like that of many a historical figure, is to be frozen in a moment in time, the full complexity of the man and his message obscured.
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About 18,000 people gather at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles in 1961 to hear civil rights leader King speak; outside, an estimated 10,000 more listened on a hastily rigged sound system. In his book Rieder says that, as a public speaker, King switched in and out of idioms as he moved between black and white audiences, performing an elaborate dance of empathy. Yet the substance of Kings message varied less than the code, style, or voice in which it was articulated.