In 1977, James Earl Carter of Georgia is sworn in as the 39th president of the United States of America.
Among those watching the ceremony is the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. The 48-year-old civil rights leader supported Carter in the 1976 election and hopes that in office he will prove more sympathetic to blacks and the poor than Presidents Nixon and Ford had been. Also in attendance is Juanita Abernathy, widow of Rev. Ralph Abernathy, who had been shot in Memphis, Tennessee, April 8, 1968, while leading a protest King had originally been scheduled to address.
King had been arrested and jailed on April 3, and on April 6, had been escorted under police guard to the Memphis airport and forced to board an outbound plane, with the warning that if he ever returned, "you ain't ever leaving"..
King has become one of the leading voices not only on civil rights but regarding opposition to continued U.S. occupation of Cuba and Vietnam, where seemingly interminable guerrilla conflicts continue despite the U.S. overthrow of Fidel Castro in 1961 and of the Communist regime in North Vietnam in 1971. American troops continue to be killed and injured in both Cuba and Vietnam, and have been fighting in Laos and Cambodia since 1972.