After all, Stonewall Jackson was an active member in Lexington’s Presbyterian Church. He even worked to teach enslaved and free blacks to read the Bible. All of this should appeal to black Americans, who to this day and as a group closely identify with Christianity. Robert E. Lee spent the last few years of his life in Lexington where he served as president of Washington College. During Reconstruction and beyond black Americans identified the crucial role that education would play in their collective success. Taken together both Lee and Jackson have been singled out as embodying Christian virtue and whose lives have been held up as worthy of emulation.
So, should black Americans celebrate Lee-Jackson Day?
On April 4, 1968, LIFE photographer Henry Groskinsky and writer Mike Silva, on assignment in Alabama, learned that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., had been shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. They raced to the scene and there, incredibly, had unfettered access to the hotel grounds, Dr. King’s room, and the surrounding area. For reasons that have been lost in the intervening years, the photographs taken that night and the next day were never published. Until now.