Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated April 4th, 1968, a year to the day after giving his incendiary "Beyond Vietnam" speech in New York City, April 4th, 1967, in which he explained why he opposed the Vietnam War. He outlined 5 suggestions for ending the war and spoke of those who make peaceful revolution impossible.
He asked for a reordering of our priorities, so that the pursuit of peace had precedence over the pursuit of war. He wanted a positive revolution of values and wanted the US to stop it’s participation in the United Nations. He wanted us to be on the right side of the world revolution and didn’t like the negative campaign against communism, preferring positive offensive action to tackle domestic issues like hunger.
The day before his assassination, April 3,1968, King gave a speech in Memphis, TN, entitled “I’ve Been to the Mountain Top”, in which he spoke of an oscillating Lincoln, deciding if he should sign the Emancipation and FDR's 1933 speech, in which we have nothing to fear but fear itself. That only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars. That it is no longer a choice between non-violence and violence, but between non-violence or non-existence .... That we have to stay together and maintain unity, for the threats were out there, from our sick white brothers.
He expressed fearlessness, almost knowing the end of his life was near, revealing.... “I may not get there with you, but we as a people will get to the promise land”. He wanted to reassure the people it was going to be alright. He reassured the crowd, that it really doesn’t matter to him now, because he’s been to the mountain top and I doesn’t mind. That like everyone, he would like to live, but that God has allowed him to look out over the mountain.
He reminded us that the pharoahs prolonged slavery in Egypt, by keeping the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, told King ...when the slaves get together, that’s the beginning of getting out of slavery ...for there’s a certain kind of fire that no water can extinguish out, said King. ....That we have to give ourselves to this struggle until the end; nothing would be more tragic than to stop ....because either we go up together or we go down together. …Within 24 hours of this speech, a single snipper's bullet caught King in the jaw, blowing off a part of his neck and exposing his spinal cord. The bullet traveled down his spinal cord and lodged in his shoulder. Dr. Martin Luther King had been a controversial figure!
The FBI had started tracking King in 1957. The FBI’s investigations were largely superficial until 1962, when they learned that one of King's most trusted advisers was New York City lawyer Stanley Levison, who the FBI had found to be involved with the Communist Party USA. As a result, the Bureau placed wiretaps on Levison's and King's home and office phones, and wiretapped King's rooms in hotels as he traveled across the country. In deed, after King gave his "I Have A Dream" speech during the March on Washington on August 28, 1963, the FBI described King as "the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country" ....it was a matter of national security now! They wanted him to withdraw from his civil rights leadership position. The Bureau received authorization to proceed with wiretapping from Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy in 1963, informing President John F. Kennedy, of whom unsuccessfully tried to persuade King to dissociate himself from Levison,.
By the day of his assassination at the Lorraine Motel, Army Intelligence had been watching King, and had deployed "Alpha 184 Special Forces team" to Memphis that day, in Operation Detachment, to watch King (the Army has denied this). As Jesse Jackson recollects, hundred of police were in the area and they claim they didn’t see anybody.... Hoover's FBI, Army Intelligence agents, and Memphis police were all watching King from surrounding positions; a government task force, where they all had jobs to do on a need to know basis. ….If the mobs contract killer failed, a back-up unit was there to finish the job. The hired snipper didn’t fail and two fingerprints were found on the rifle and nowhere else in the apartment. They were traced to James Earl Ray, who had just escaped a Missouri prison.
James Earl Ray was captured two months after King's death, at London Heathrow Airport. He was quickly extradited to Tennessee and charged with King's murder. After crimes dating back to 1949, Ray was sentenced to 20 years, for being a habitual offender in 1959. In 1967, he escaped and was captured in 1968. He confessed to King’s assassination on March 10, 1969, on the advice of his attorney Percy Foreman, pleading guilty to avoid a trial conviction and thus the possibility of receiving the death penalty. Ray recanted this confession three days later, claiming that a man he met in Montreal, using the alias "Raoul" had been deeply involved, as was his brother Johnny, but not himself. He further asserted that although he didn't "personally shoot Dr. King," he may have been "partially responsible without knowing it," hinting at a conspiracy. Ray was sentenced to a 99-year prison term. He spent the remainder of his life attempting (unsuccessfully) to withdraw his guilty plea and secure the trial he never had. In fact, on June 10, 1977, Ray testified to the House Select Committee on Assassinations that he did not shoot King,
It's possible James Earl Ray was a patsy, used to take the fall. But regardless of his role in the assassination, James Earl Ray was denied a new trial, and died waiting in jail. Believing in his client’s innocence, James Earl Ray’s attorney, William F. Pepper, initiated a civil, wrongful death case against Memphis retaurant owner and mob go-between, Loyd Jowers, on behalf of the King family. Loyd Jowers had claimed years earlier, that he had been approached to assassinate Martin Luther King, and was to provide the rifle to the shooter. Although Loyd Jowers was in failing health and unable attend the trial, the new case was tried in 30 days, in 1999, using 70 witnesses.
A reading of the final minutes of the trail reveals the jury returns a verdict were Loyd Jowers is liable and Memphis police, mobsters and possibly the US government were involved. Everyone wanted a single assassin racist, but James Earl Ray’s lawyer William F. Pepper, proved that a conspiracy of US government agencies facilitated the mob hit. James Earl Ray was vindicated in 1999. William Pepper claims he got justice for his client and peace for the Kings.
In memory of Martin Luther King Day, and on the eve of Obama's troubling ascension to the Presidency, I honor Dr. Martin Luther King's civil rights legacy, by providing the last minutes of this revealing 1999 case ...to, as King said, be on the right side of the world revolution!
Coretta Scott King (Plaintiffs) Vs. Loyd Jowers (Defendants)
PROCEEDINGS: December 8th, 1999
THE COURT: All right, ladies and gentlemen. I understand you reached a verdict. Is that correct?
THE JURY: Yes (In unison).
THE COURT: May I have that verdict. (Verdict form passed to the Court.)
THE COURT: I have authorized this gentleman here to take one picture of you which I'm going to have developed and make copies and send to you as I promised. Okay. All right, ladies and gentlemen. Let me ask you, do all of you agree with this verdict?
THE JURY: Yes (In unison).
THE COURT: In answer to the question did Loyd Jowers participate in a DANIEL, DILLINGER, DOMINSKI, RICHBERGER, WEATHERFORD ...conspiracy to do harm to Dr. Martin Luther King, your answer is yes. Do you also find that others, including governmental agencies, were parties to this conspiracy as alleged by the defendant? Your answer to that one is also yes. And the total amount of damages you find for the plaintiffs entitled to is one hundred dollars. Is that your verdict?
THE JURY: Yes (In unison).
In 2000, the United States Department of Justice completed an investigation about Jowers' claims. Perhaps, not surprisingly, the investigation report found no evidence to support allegations about the conspiracy and recommended no further investigation, unless some new reliable facts are presented...
Lest we forget, King asked that we develop a dangerous unselfishness ….and raise up some vital matters of life!
…Be on the right side of the world revolution!