Martin Luther King Controverisal Assasination

Martin Luther King Controverisal Assasination

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The Reverend and Mrs. Martin Luther King gave birth to Michael Luther King Junior at noon on January 15, 1929. Michael who later changed his name to Martin became one of the most known civil rights leaders, advocating nonviolent protest against segregation and racial discrimination. On April 3, King arrived in Memphis, Tennessee where he was to lead a march of sanitation workers protesting against low wages and poor working conditions. That evening, King delivered his "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech to a relatively small crowd that had braved the bad weather to hear King speak. King's thoughts were obviously on his mortality, for he discussed the plane threat as well as the time he had been stabbed. Local newspapers mocked King when he announced he was coming back to Memphis for a second round. Among other snipes and barbs, the local press criticized him for staying at a white-owned Holiday Inn, instead of the Motel Lorraine, which was black-owned. (Overbeck pg 2) Hoping to avoid further bad press in wake of the disastrous March 28 demonstration, not wanting to add to all the hatred that filled the air King switched his accommodations to a room at the Motel Lorraine, where this would prove to be a grave mistake on April 4. On the evening of April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King and his friends were getting dressed to have dinner with Memphis minister Billy Kyles. King was in Room 306 on the second floor and hurried to get dressed since they were running a bit late. While putting on his shirt and using Magic Shave Powder to shave, King chatted with Ralph Abernathy about an upcoming event. Around 5:30 p.m. Kyles had knocked on their door to hurry them along. The three men joked about what was to be served for dinner. King and Abernathy wanted to confirm that they were going to be served "soul food" and not something like filet mignon. About half an hour later, Kyles and King stepped out from the motel room onto the balcony (Garrow 36-37). Many cheered on as the civil rights leader graciously out step on the second floor balcony of the Motel Lorraine. Roaring cheers from the crowd rose up as Martin Luther King stood there waving his hand with his heart warming smile and his good friend Reverand Jesse Jackson. Kyles was just a couple steps down the stairs and Abernathy was still inside the motel room when the shot rang out and the crowd’s cheerful spirit died.

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A cold chill went through all who were present fore in the back of their minds there was no doubt that their King had just been shot. He was shot in the neck as he stood on a hotel balcony, "He had just bent over. I reckon if he had been standing up he would not have been hit in the face," said Jesse Jackson (BBC news). There are four conspiracy theories for the assassination of MLK, conspiracy theory one James Earl Ray was the unwitting patsy for someone shadier who shot him. Conspiracy theory two the government, Memphis police and the FBI shot him. Conspiracy theory three evidence in Ray's car after the 1968 shooting with the name "Raul" written on them. Conspiracy theory four the Memphis bar owner shot and killed him. Just what exactly happened on April 4th, 1968 at 6:01PM? Just how many sides does this story have? The events surrounding Martin Luther King's death remain controversial to this day, after more than 30 years after the fact.
James Earl Ray
One of the most controversial conspiracy theories is that James Earl Ray shot Martin Luther King Junior. James Ray Claimed that he was framed by someone he was involved with smuggling operations, Raul. According to James when Raul told him to buy a rifle and check into a certain rooming house in Memphis, James did so, no questions asked. James went on to say there at the room he handed Raul the rifle, never to see him again.. In another version Ray claims to have waited in the car and then heard the shot, after which Raul ran out and jumped in the car. James Earl Ray, the man who admitted to killing Martin Luther King Jr. and then retracted his admission, died of kidney failure.
The Government
James Ray's lawyer William Pepper, claims that Ray was set up by the government who had hired someone from the mafia to kill Martin Luther. A team of snipers waited nearby just in case the snipper should miss, the CIA, the Memphis police, the FBI and the Army intelligence were also involved. In Pepper's 1995 book the commando of the snippers Billy Eidson was killed off to keep everything secret. Pepper's book was considered a forgery but Billy Eidson was found to be alive and upset at the allegations that he was involved in the assasination.
The Raul Evidence
In 1998 a retired FBI employee Donald Wilson said he found pieces of paper in Ray's car after the 1968 shooting that had the name "Raul" written all over them. Wilson claims to have not come forward with this evidence for so long because he felt it wasnt neccessary. Wilson apprently took home the evidence and stored it in his freezer for most of the 30 years. The FBI claims that Wilson was not part of the search team and that his evidence is a toatl fabrication.
Llyod Jowers: The Memphis bar man
The Memphis bar owner of Jim's Grill, right across the streeet from the Lorraine Motel, Llyod Jowers claimed in 1993 that he was given money to hire an assassin for king. He claimed that a Memphis produce dealer, Frank Liberto, gave him 100,000 dollars to hire a hit man to murder king and the assassin he hired was not James Earl Ray. After a 7-month investigation, Memphis District Attorney General Bill Gibbons reported that he could find no evidence Jowers had any involvement in the murder.
Was Martin Luther King's death caused by a known racist, the government, a man by the name of Raul or Llyod Jowers the Memphis bar man? It seems likely that all these conspiracy theories may have made sense at the time or at least seemed partially true. Without a doubt Martin Luther King's death shocked the world and turned it up side down once again. Still to this day James Earl Ray is known to be the assissin of Martin Luther, while some still believe otherwise. To my beliefs the man who commited the crime has served his punishment. Perhaps Martin Luther King was killed because he believed so strongly in african-american civil rights and peace movments, still Martin's death is one of those historical events that goes down in history.



Works Cited

"Timeline of Events in Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Life." Louisiana State University Libraries.

"1968: Martin Luther King Shot Dead." BBC News. 4 April 1968.

"Martin Luther King, Jr." Wikipedia Online.

Ayton, Mel. A Racial Crime: James Earl Ray And The Murder Of Martin Luther King Jr. Las Vegas: Archebooks Publishing, 2005.

Jackson, Thomas F. From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Struggle for Economic Justice. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006.

Garrow, David J. Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. New York: William Morrow, 1986.

Posner, Gerald. Killing the Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.. New York: Random House, 1998

Overbeck, Charles.The Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: An Overview . Parascope Inc, 1996.
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