Years of hope, tragedy

March 30, 1998

The stories of the Evers, King and Shabazz families ar entwined with the decades-long struggle to integrate American society. Over the next two days, the landmark events of those years will be chronicled.


Jan. 24: The Washington Post reports that the FBI wiretapped Dr. King's phones during the 1964 Democratic National Convention.

Feb. 28: A U.S. District Court judge in Memphis denies Ray's motion to withdraw his guilty plea.

Oct. 23: Martin Luther King III turns 18.


Nov. 16: Attallah Shabazz turns 18.


Jan. 10: James Van Dyke Evers turns 18.

Dec. 25: Qubilah Bahiyah Shabazz turns 18.


Jan. 30: Dexter King turns 18.


July 22: Ilyasah Shabazz turns 18.


March 28: Bernice Albertine King turns 18.


July 1: Gamilah Shabazz turns 18.


Sept. 30: Twins Malaak and Malikah Shabazz turn 18.

Nov. 2: President Ronald Reagan signs a proclamation declaring the third Monday in January to be a public holiday in honor of Dr. King.


Nov. 11: The Rev. Martin Luther King Sr., dies in Atlanta at 84.


Jan. 20: Martin Luther King holiday is celebrated for the first time.


Jan. 14: Coretta Scott King announces her resignation as president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta. Dexter King, 27, will take her place.

Aug. 8: Dexter King resigns as president of the King Center amid reports of managerial and personal differences with his mother and older members of the board of directors. Coretta Scott King resumes control.


Dec. 18: Byron De La Beckwith is indicted on a charge of killing Evers.


March 3: Rodney King is beaten by members of the Los Angeles Police Department. The beating is videotaped and shown nationwide.


April 29: A Simi Valley, Calif. jury finds four Los Angeles police officers not guilty in the beating of Rodney King. Riots sweep through Los Angeles. Fifty-three people die, 10,000 businesses are destroyed, and about $1 billion in damage is reported.

Nov. 18: Spike Lee's film "Malcolm X" opens.


April 17: A federal jury convicts two of the four officers charged in the Rodney King beating.


Feb. 5: After six hours of deliberation, a jury of eight blacks and four whites unanimously convicts Beckwith of the murder of Medgar Evers.

Oct. 21: Dexter King is named again to be chairman and chief executive of the King Center, taking over from his mother, Coretta Scott King.


Jan. 12: Qubilah Shabazz is arrested in Minneapolis on federal charges of trying to hire a hit man to kill Louis Farrakhan, minister of the Nation of Islam.

Feb. 18: Myrlie Evers-Williams is elected chairwoman of the NAACP. She ousts Dr. William F. Gibson on a 30-29 vote of the NAACP's board.

Feb. 22: Walter Edward Williams, who urged his wife, Myrlie Evers-Williams, to run for NAACP chairwoman even though he was ill with prostate cancer, dies in her arms at the age of 76.

May 1: The government agrees to drop murder-for-hire charges against Qubilah Shabazz in exchange for two years of probation and counseling. Under the agreement, Shabazz, 34, admits no guilt.

Oct. 16: The Million Man March is held in Washington, D.C. Organized by the Nation of Islam, it is promoted as a day of atonement and reconciliation.


Jan. 3: The film "Ghosts of Mississippi" is released.

Feb. 13: Coretta Scott King and Dexter, Martin, Yolanda and Bernice King hold a news conference and ask that James Earl Ray be given a new trial to answer the questions about the assassination.

March 27: Dexter King meets with James Earl Ray, who says he didn't kill King's father. King called it a "spiritual experience".

June 1: Betty Shabazz is critically injured in a fire at her Yonkers, N.Y. apartment.

June 23: Betty Shabazz, 61, dies in New York of burns from the fire set by her grandson, Malcolm.

Nov. 1: Martin Luther King III becomes president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Dec. 22: The Mississippi Supreme Court upholds the conviction of Byron De La Beckwith in the assassination of Evers.


Feb. 10: Myrlie Evers-Williams announces that she will not seek re-election to her NAACP post when her term expires this month. She says she will found an institute to preserve the work and memory of her late husband, slain civil rights leader Medgar Evers.

March 6: Criminal Court Judge Joe Brown, whose rulings gave James Earl Ray hope that he would be tried for the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., is removed from the case for appearing biased toward the convicted killer.

March 24: Former FBI agent Donald Wilson says he discovered two slips of paper supporting James Earl Ray's assertion of a frame-up six days after King was killed, but did not tell anyone. FBI officials call the assertion a fabrication.

Pub Date: 3/30/98

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