Chicago 2020 unrest recalls echoes of 1968 riots after Martin Luther King Jr. assassination

CHICAGO (WLS) -- In 1966, Martin Luther King, Jr. faced hostile and violent crowds as he marched for open housing on Chicago's West Side. He was taunted and hit with bricks on the streets of Marquette Park.

"I can say that I've never seen, even in Mississippi and Alabama, crowds as hate-filled as I've seen in Chicago," he would go on to say.

It was because of King's assassination two years later in 1968 that the West Side went up in flames. There was widespread looting and violence.

And now, again, in Chicago pent up fury has been unleashing following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Martin Luther King, III, King's son, said the message is clear.

"That people want action, and they want action now. They want relief, and they want relief now," he said.

"Buildings being set on fire, people staling things; that certainly is not the way that I would hope things would happen," King continued. "But a building can be restored or rebuilt. How do you restore a human life? George Floyd will never be back."

While the city hasn't seen this level of violence since 1968, it is not all the same.

"The one difference, in '68 it was by and large the African American community. In 2020, this is whites and blacks. IN fact, there are more whites than blacks involved in these demonstrations than blacks across the world," King said. "The world has been impacted by this incident."

The civil rights leader leveled specific criticism at President Trump for his handling of the current crisis.

"You resort to stoking the flames as opposed to resorting to calm to quell the situation and bring the nation together," he said.

And once again, he said, the whole world is watching.

"Dad used to say: 'The ultimate measure of a human being is not where he stands in time of comfort and convenience, but where you stand in times of challenge and controversy,'" said King.
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