AP PHOTOS: Washington then and now, 50 years after MLK riots

March 30, 2018
An April 7, 1968, photo showing Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, D-N.Y., stepping through the debris of a building razed by fire during a 22-block tour on foot, April 7, 1968, through the badly damaged area along 14th Street is placed on a easel at the present day corner of 7th and U Streets in northwest Washington, on March 28, 2018. The April 4, 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., sparked rioting across neighborhoods in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Riots erupted in America’s capital in the hours after Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Grieving and angry, rioters smashed windows, looted and burned buildings for several days, and at least 10 people lost their lives as a result of the violence.

With the Washington, D.C. police force overwhelmed by the rioting, the federal government deployed the National Guard to protect government buildings and maintain some semblance of order in the city. Soldiers carrying rifles in the streets of the capital became commonplace as officials struggled to calm angry residents.

It took decades for some predominantly black neighborhoods in the District of Columbia to recover from the destruction.

Today, 50 years later, the landscape of the city has changed with newer, more modern buildings replacing the damaged and burned facilities with little trace remaining from the days of rage following Martin Luther King’s death.


For AP’s complete coverage marking 50 years since Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, go to https://apnews.com/tag/MartinLutherKingJr