AJC exclusive: Sandy Springs man finds new photos of MLK funeral

The few times Ken Guthrie has shared a couple of 50-year-old black and white photos with his students at Georgia State University, they have struggled to identify the event depicted in the images.

There’s a mule-drawn wagon and crowds of people surrounding it. The people are well-dressed in mourning clothes. One or two students recognize the street, but they can’t guess whose funeral this was. Then Guthrie, of Sandy Springs, tells them a story.

He took those pictures on April 9, 1968, when he was a college student. They depict the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr. Guthrie had driven down from Waleska to Atlanta to witness one of the largest funerals in the nation’s history. Afterward, he printed only two or three of the negatives from the single roll of film he shot. The negatives were lost after Guthrie graduated from college. Or so he thought. Then, about 10 years ago, he got a phone call and the fate of those photos took a turn.

In an Atlanta Journal-Constitution exclusive, Guthrie shares what happened to those original negatives. The revelation provides answers to the question his students try to answer but can’t: What was it like to be on the streets of Atlanta the day King was buried? To see for yourself, go to

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The March 21 documentary 'The Last Days of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.' on Channel 2 kicked off a countdown of remembrance across the combined platforms of Channel 2 and its partners, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB Radio

The three Atlanta news sources will release comprehensive multi-platform content until April 9, the anniversary of King’s funeral. 

On April 4, the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination, the three properties will devote extensive live coverage to the memorials in Atlanta, Memphis and around the country. 

The project will present a living timeline in real time as it occurred on that day in 1968, right down to the time the fatal shot was fired that ended his life an hour later. 

The project will culminate on April 9 with coverage of the special processional in Atlanta marking the path of Dr. King’s funeral, which was watched by the world.

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