CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Martin Luther King Jr. was supposed to come to Charlotte to speak in April 1968, but the sanitation workers strike in Memphis forced him to postpone.
Another civil rights leader, Dorothy Cotton, sent a telegram to break the news to former Charlotte civil rights leader Dr. Reginald Hawkins. It was dated April 2nd 1968, two days before King was assassinated.
"It sends chills down your spine," said UNC Charlotte Special Collections and University Archives Associate Dean Dawn Schmitz. A continuous chill that can date back a decade before when he was also supposed to come to Charlotte.
"He had plans to come in 1958 and speak but those plans had to be canceled," Schmitz said.
It was the year King was stabbed at a book signing in New York City. King did make it to Charlotte at Johnson C. Smith University in 1966, however, it was that 1968 canceled visit that leaves people wondering.
"Perhaps if he had come here instead of Memphis he would have still been alive," Schmitz said. "You just think history could have been different."
King was also supposed to visit a number of other North Carolina cities when he canceled his visit in 1968.
Anyone can look at the letters and documents from King and about his visits to Charlotte at the Special Collections department at the Atkins Library at UNC Charlotte.