When former SNCC organizer Stokely Carmichael originally scheduled a press conference for April 5, 1968, he had planned to use it as a platform for demanding the release of fellow black revolutionary H. Rap Brown, who had been stuck in a Maryland jail for several weeks. Instead, he devoted but a few sentences to the plight of “Brother Rap” before declaring that “white America made its biggest mistake last night” by killing Dr. Martin Luther King

King's slaying meant the death of “all reasonable hope,” Carmichael warned, because he was “the only man of our race ... of the older generation who the militants and the revolutionaries and the masses of black people would still listen to” even if they no longer agreed with what he had to say. There would be no more “intellectual discussions. Black Americans would now retaliate for the murder of one of their leaders by seeking their justice not in the courtrooms but in the streets”

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