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.
A photo from April 6, 1968, showing pedestrians being waved away from a barred area by a gas-masked National Guard member guarding the area is placed on a easel near the present day corner of 7th and K Streets, in northwest Washington, on March 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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.