Dr. King's Death and Memorial In Atlanta, mourners kept an all-night vigil outside the Ebenezer Baptist Church waiting to view the body of slain civil rights leader Dr. King. The entire nation was shocked by the murder of Dr. King. President Johnson declared Sunday, April 7 th , a day of national mourning. Governments worldwide announced their concern and sense of loss over the death of Dr. King. Reverend Abernathy, King’s closest friend, officiated at the memorial service at Ebenezer Baptist Church. The 800 people inside the church were joined by nearly 100,000 mourners in the streets outside.