The motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated

Assassination Site in Memphis, Tennessee

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Martin Luther King Jr. assassination location

This is the motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

It is located at 450 Mulberry Street in Memphis, Tennessee.

In April 1968, MLK was staying in room 306 on the second floor of the Lorraine Motel (close to the red circle in the image above).

In the months leading up to the shooting, he had been making frequent trips to Memphis to support African American sanitation workers who were striking for better pay and safety conditions.

His plans to return to the city had recently been published in a number of newspapers. Furthermore, it was common knowledge that he often stayed at the Lorraine Motel.

On the evening of April 4th, 1968, King was standing on the balcony outside of his room. Unbeknownst to him, a pro-segregationist and petty criminal named James Earl Ray had taken up a shooting position in a rooming house that was just 200 feet away.

Ray had a clear line of sight on MLK
James Earl Ray had a clear line of sight on MLK. That day, he had taken up a shooting position in the bathroom of a rooming house that was just 210 feet to the northwest. Following the shooting, horrified bystanders were photographed pointing in the general direction of the rooming house.

At exactly 6.01 p.m., Ray fixed his scope on King and fired a single shot with his Remington Model 760 rifle.

James Earl Ray's point of view
This photograph by Jeremy Drexler gives us an idea of what the motel would have looked like from Ray's point of view.

The bullet struck King in the face and traveled down his spinal cord, severing his external jugular vein and two major arteries.

It is unlikely that the civil rights activist heard the shot that killed him, as he immediately lost consciousness and slumped onto his back.

MLK balcony
MLK was standing in this exact spot on the motel balcony when his assassin opened fire from the window across the street. Credit: Jeremy Drexler.

As shocked onlookers rushed to King's aid, Ray hurriedly gathered up his belongings and fled from the rooming house.

King was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital on Overton Avenue, where he was pronounced dead roughly one hour later.

During the investigation, the authorities discovered Ray's fingerprints on a rifle and binoculars that had been dumped in a store doorway close to the crime scene. Furthermore, a witness saw a man matching Ray's description fleeing from the rooming house shortly after the gunshot rang out.

Following the assassination, Ray drove to Canada, where he used a fake passport to board a flight to the United Kingdom. However, he was detained at Heathrow Airport while he was attempting to fly to Belgium. By that stage, the authorities had placed his alias on a watch list.

He was charged with murder shortly after he was extradited back to Tennessee.

Ray agreed to plead guilty to the crime to avoid the death penalty.

Three days later, he attempted to recant his confession after he learned that a recent Supreme Court ruling would have resulted in any death sentence being commuted to life imprisonment. However, his attempts to withdraw his guilty plea ultimately proved to be unsuccessful, and he spent the rest of his life behind bars.

On April 23rd, 1998, Ray died in prison at the age of 70.

Martin Luther King Jr. assassination location

The address and the GPS coordinates for this location are as follows:


450 Mulberry Street, Memphis, Tennessee, TN 38103, USA


To view directions on how to get there, you can use the Google Maps shortcut below:

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GPS coordinates

The latitude and longitude coordinates for the motel are:

35.134476, -90.057685


The motel is situated in the South Main District in downtown Memphis. The entrance is close to the corner of South Main Street and Huling Avenue.


Photos of the motel and other related images.

Assassination location

MLK assassination motel

Martin Luther King Jr. was standing on the balcony outside room 306 at the Lorraine Motel when he was assassinated.

The Google Street View image above was captured in November 2018.

A memorial plaque is present on the wall beside the parking lot. It reads as follows:

Martin Luther King Jr.

Jan 15 1929 - Apr 4 1968

Founding President - Southern Christian Leadership Conference

They said one to another. Behold. Here cometh the dreamer. Let us slay him, and we shall see what will become of his dreams.

Genesis 37:19-20

Bessie Brewer's rooming house

Bessie Brewer's Rooming House

This is a Google Street View image of the former rooming house that Ray used to carry out the shooting. He fired his rifle from the small window on the top right.

Ray purchased his Remington rifle just six days before the shooting.

Initially, he traveled to Martin Luther King Jr.'s hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. At the time, he had a map with the locations of King's house and church circled on it.

However, shortly after arriving in Atlanta, he picked up a local newspaper and saw that the civil rights activist had plans to return to Memphis for a couple of days. Consequently, he decided to follow him there.

After driving to Memphis, he rented a room at the New Rebel Motel on Lamar Avenue. Once there, he learned that King was staying at the Lorraine Motel on Mulberry Street.

At around 3.30 p.m. on April 4th, 1968, Ray walked into Bessie Brewer's rooming house and rented room 5B, which was situated at the back.

That afternoon, he purchased binoculars and set up his rifle in the bathroom window, which had a direct line of sight to King's room.

Coordinates: 35.134980, -90.058096

Google Maps

New Rebel Motel

New Rebel Motel Memphis

After arriving in Memphis, James Earl Ray rented a room at the New Rebel Motel, which was situated at 3462 Lamar Avenue. The motel was roughly 10 miles away from Bessie Brewer's rooming house.

These days, it is called the South East Motel.

Coordinates: 35.073765, -89.947845

Google Maps

424 South Main Street

424 South Main Street

After shooting King, Ray fled from the rooming house.

While he was running away, he decided to dump his rifle and binoculars at the front of Canipe's Amusement Company, which was situated at 424 South Main Street.

The building that housed Canipe's no longer exists. The lot that it once stood on is currently home to a fire station.

Lorraine Motel

Lorraine Motel

This Google Street View image of the Lorraine Motel was captured in March 2020.

At the time of the shooting, it was owned by Walter Bailey, who had marketed it toward African-American visitors during the segregation era.

It stopped operating as a motel in 1988.

Three years later, it reopened as the National Civil Rights Museum.



Image source: Jeremy Drexler

Ray shot King from this bathroom window.

Ray's car

Ray's car

Image source: Jeremy Drexler

In the lead-up to the shooting, Ray followed King in his 1966 Ford Mustang Coupe.

The car is currently on display inside the National Civil Rights Museum.

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Crime Scenes

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