Exhibit showcases Martin Luther King Jr.'s ties to New York

More than 40 photographs line the hallway inside the Museum of the City of New York. Many of these photographs capture Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in action in the city. The exhibition is called "King in New York."

Curator Sarah Seidman helped create the gallery and said that was surprised at MLK's connection to New York. King "I Have a Dream Speech," delivered in Washington, was planned in Harlem, she said.

The pictures begin in 1956. The photo shows the civil rights leader is at St. John the Divine in Morningside Heights speaking to 12,000 people about the Montgomery bus boycott he helped organize. Church leaders said it was one of the best speeches they ever heard, Seidman said.

Then in 1958 in Harlem, the first assassination attempt by a mentally ill woman nearly killed him. A picture shows King leaving Harlem Hospital after spending a few weeks recovering from surgery. African-American surgeons had operated on him, Seidman said.

The timeline continues to July 1964 when New York City Mayor Robert Wagner invited King to get advice on how to address racial violence in the city, which broke out after police shot and killed an African-American teen on the Upper East Side.

Seidman said King counseled Wagner to create an independent police review board—a precursor to what is now the CCRB. Later that year, Wagner invited King back to celebrate his Nobel Peace Prize and present him with the Medallion of Honor.

King was also outspoken about the Vietnam War. In a speech at Riverside Church on April 4, 1967, he declared it a racist war. (Exactly one year later, he was assassinated.)

Seidman said King came back to the city on April 15 in one of the largest mobilizations against the Vietnam War, which culminated in speeches outside the United Nations.

The exhibit concludes with photos of how New Yorkers reacted to the news of King's assassination in April 1968.

King in New York | The Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY | 212-534-1672 | mcny.org