The Assassination of Martin Luther King

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Convicted for armed robbery in 1960, James Earl Ray escaped from Missouri State Penitentiary on April 22, 1967. Ray’s hatred for the black population and support for Nazism fueled his drive to assassinate pacifistic leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. During the civil rights era, Martin Luther King, Jr.’s strong political and religious presence caused him to be a potential target as many denounced his promotion of equality amongst blacks and whites in America. Moreover, with the use of a Remington rifle, Ray shot King from a bathroom window of a hotel located across the street from the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, where he had a perfect view of King standing on the motel room balcony. On the eve of April 4, 1968, King was pronounced dead. Afterwards, Ray fled to Canada where he changed his identify and created a fake passport which would later be used to flee to Brussels, Belgium from a Scottish airport. However, Ray was caught at Heathrow Airport on June 8, 1968 and was deported back to America. James Earl Ray was convicted in March 1969 for the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. In court, Ray voluntarily pleaded guilty before Judge W. Preston Battle which reduced his sentence to 99 years in prison instead of the death penalty . As will become evident, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. resulted in the immediate outburst of riots, Robert Kennedy eulogizing King, the high attendance of King’s funeral service, and the implementation of the Fair Housing Act; the prosecution of James Earl Ray; and in the longer term, the creation of Martin Luther King National Holiday as well as the desire to reopen the case of James Earl Ray in 1997. In the immediate proceedings of Martin Luther King assassination... ... middle of paper ... ...chulke, Flip. He Had a Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1995. Scott King, Coretta. My Life With Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc, 1969. Sides, Hampton. Hellbound on His Trial: The Stalking of Martin Luther King Jr. And the International Hunt for His Assassin. New York: Doubleday, 2010. Sundquist, Eric J. King’s Dream. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009. United States. HUD.gov. History of Fair Housing. Washington DC: Department of Housing and Urban Development. Accessed March 13, 2014, http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/fair_housing_equal_opp/aboutfheo/history. Waldschmidt-Nelson, Britta. Dreams and Nightmares: Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, and The Struggle for Black Equality in America. Florida: Florida University Press, 2012.
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