There have been several high-profile assassinations through the course of history. Important players on the world’s stage have long recognised the danger they are in and employed personal security services or bodyguards to protect them.
Perhaps one of the most notorious assassinations took place in Memphis in 1968 when the famous civil-rights leader, Martin Luther King Jr, was killed. King (1929-1968) had attracted attention by speaking out against discrimination against black people. He had also organised demonstrations to raise the profile of the cause. In 1963 he and 200,000 demonstrators marched on Washington and in 1964 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He was the youngest person ever to have been awarded the Peace Prize.
At 6pm on 4th April 1968 King, a Baptist minister, was standing on a motel balcony when he was shot in the head. According to some sources, his jaw was smashed and the bullet ended up in his spinal column. He died very soon afterwards.
His death sparked off many riots in more than a hundred towns across the USA and as a historical figure he has never been forgotten. In 1986, Martin Luther King Day was declared a national holiday in the USA.
Another well-known assassination is that of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria who was the heir to the throne of Austria and Hungary. When he and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo on 28th June, 1914, who would have believed that their deaths would be the spark that set off the First World War?
After going to church on the morning of 28th June, the Archduke and his party joined a motorcade at Sarajevo station which contained Sarajevo’s Mayor and Chief of Police, among others. Little did they know that along their route various terrorists were waiting, all of whom wished the royal couple dead and were armed accordingly. The first two attempts on their lives came to nothing but the third assassin threw a bomb at them which blew up the car behind and wounded approximately 20 people, though it missed the Archduke himself. Franz Ferdinand and his wife went on to the Town Hall unhurt but visibly upset. Later they headed for the hospital to visit those wounded in the attempt on the Archduke’s life. During the journey a fourth assassin fired a gun at the Archduke, injuring him in the neck, and hitting his wife in the abdomen. They both died shortly afterwards.
Rioting broke out within hours of the assassinations. The rest, as they say, is history...
Quick Quiz: Read the clues below and write the solutions on a piece of paper. Then take the first letter of each answer and rearrange them to find the hidden word connected with this Talking Point.
1. In 1964 Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel __________ Prize.
2. The bullet __________ up in his spinal column.
3. His death __________ off many riots in more than a hundred towns across the USA.
4. Another well-known assassination is __________ of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria.
5. Little did they know that along their __________ terrorists were waiting.
6. The third assassin __________ a bomb at them which blew up the car behind.
7. Franz Ferdinand and his wife went __________ to the Town Hall unhurt but visibly upset.
For use with Talking Point worksheets
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