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How The Murder Of Martin Luther King, Jr. Spawned Grief And Chaos In Pittsburgh's Black Community

Residents lean from windows as rows of Pennsylvania National Guardsmen march down the street and sidewalks clearing the Hill District on April 8, 1968, after the neighborhood erupted following the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

By the time Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was shot and killed on a Memphis balcony in April 1968, Pittsburgh's black community had been simmering for years over the once thriving 100-acre section of the Lower Hill District that city leaders had leveled to build the Civic Arena. 

Journalists Steve Mellon with the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Christian Morrow of the New Pittsburgh Courier look back at the violent reaction in the Pittsburgh region, as well as the lasting impact of Dr. King’s words, actions and accomplishments on the local community.

Later in the program...

Data show Pittsburgh’s police roster is shifting toward less-experienced officers. A few years ago, about half the force had 17 years or more on the beat, but by 2017, that median level had dropped significantly. Experts credit a lot of the recent departures to suburban police departments, which often pay more and offer patrols in smaller, more quiet communities. But as the Post-Gazette's Shelly Bradbury reports, city police leaders say the shift isn’t all bad.

Coming up next...

Mayor Bill Peduto issued an executive order on Tuesday providing paid safe time off for city workers facing domestic violence. The policy, which goes into effect in July, would affect non-unionized city employees, though Peduto promised to ask union leaders to adopt similar provisions in the next round of collective bargaining. The Post-Gazette's Adam Smeltz explains.

And finally...

A major drop in demand has put Pennsylvania dairy farmers in an economic bind. The Post-Gazette's Daniel Moore joins KCUR national correspondent Frank Morris to talk about why local farmers are struggling, plus how the threat of sanctions in retaliation to President Donald Trump’s trade tariffs could manifest nationwide.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s weekly news program. Each week, reporters, editors and storytellers join veteran journalist and host Kevin Gavin to take an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.

Megan Harris is a writer, editor, photographer and curator for Pittsburgh's NPR News station. She leads editorial coverage for The Confluence, 90.5 WESA's live, one-hour, daily morning news show.
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