On Martin Luther King Day, January 15, 2007, I had the distinct pleasure to hear Rev. Samuel Billy Kyles. Memphis, Tennessee’s Rev. Kyles was an eyewitness to Dr. King’s assassination. As he spoke, there was complete silence in a capacity filled convention center (almost 5,000) in Columbus, Ohio. Had a pin dropped, we would have heard it! As Kyles related the events, I, and others were saddened when he spoke about Mrs. Lorraine Bailey.
“King wasn’t the only one to die at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis on April 4, 1968. After he was killed, one of the hotel workers, Lorraine Bailey (who was also the wife of the motel owner and who it was named after), upon seeing King get shot, had a heart attack and later died from this. This was partially why there was such a delay in getting an ambulance as Lorraine was also the switchboard operator and so when Reverend Samuel Kyles attempted to call an ambulance using the phone in the motel room, nobody was at the switchboard to make that happen.” Dr. King meant a lot to so many people. The news of his death shattered the nation; it devastated the Black community. It killed Mrs. Lorraine!
Photo credit: www.yummies4tummies.com. Quote: 20 Interesting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Facts.