Fifty years ago, one of the best days of Earl Monroe’s life gave way to one of the worst. On April 3, 1968, the Bullets’ basketball star was named NBA Rookie of the Year. On April 4, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was slain. People wept. Fury raged. Cities burned — Baltimore, among them.
“For me, his death was traumatic,” said Monroe, 73. “I was a big proponent of Dr. King; I wish I could have met him.”
Immediately, that Thursday night, Monroe took to the streets outside his apartment in northwest Baltimore.
“I did it to mingle with people, and to quiet the crowds,” he said. “I told them, ‘Be cool, there’s nothing we can do about it right now. Just chill.’...