20. King-Assassination Riots, 1968
On April 4, 1968, prominent civil rights activist and leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. What sparked from this event was considered to be the greatest social unrest that the United States had seen since the Civil War of the 19th Century.
In the political aftermath, King’s campaign brought about the passing of the Fair Housing Act – part of the Civil Rights Act 1968 – along with many quoting the riots as a turning point in civil rights.
But the events also served as a cause for Republicans to sow fear and gain momentum against black crime, resulting in Richard Nixon winning the tumultuous 1968 Presidential elections.