"Science," the Greek word for knowledge, when appended to the word "political," creates what seems like an oxymoron. For who could claim to know politics? More complicated than any game, most people who play it become addicts and die without understanding what they were addicted to. The rest of us suffer under their malpractice as our "leaders." A truer case of the blind leading the blind could not be found. Plumb the depths of confusion here.


Postby admin » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:35 am

by Dr. William F. Pepper
© 1995 by Dr. William F. Pepper




Table of Contents:

• The Principal Players
• Introduction
• Glossary
• Photo Gallery
Part I: Background to the Assassination
• 1. Vietnam: Spring 1966-Summer 1967
• 2. Death of the New Politics: Summer 1967-Spring 1968
• 3. Memphis: The Sanitation Workers' Strike, February 1968-March 1968
• 4. Enter Dr. King: March-April 3, 1968
Part II: The Assassination
• 5. The Assassination: April 4, 1968
• 6. Aftermath: April 5-18, 1968
• 7. Hunt, Extradition, and Plea: May 1968-March 10, 1969
Part III: The Initial Investigation
• 8. Reentry: Late 1977-October 15, 1978
• 9. The Visit: October 17, 1978
• 10. James Earl Ray's Story: October 17, 1978
• 11. Pieces of the Puzzle: 1978-1979
• 12. Brother Jerry on the Stand: November 30, 1978
• 13. The HSCA Report: January 1979
• 14. Following the Footprints of Conspiracy: January-September 1979
• 15. Disruption, Relocation and Continuation: 1978-1988
• 16. More Leads, More Loose Ends: Spring-Summer 1989
• 17. James Earl Ray's Legal Representation Reexamined
Part IV: The Television Trial of James Earl Ray
• 18. Preparations for the Television Trial of James Earl Ray: November 1989-September 17, 1992
• 19. Pretrial Investigations: September-October 1992
• 20. Corroboration and New Evidence: November 1992
• 21. Making A Case: December 1992
• 22. The Trial Approaches: January 1993
• 23. The Eve of the Trial: January 24, 1993
• 24. The Trial: January 25-February 5, 1993
• 25. The Verdict: February-July 1993
Part V: The Continuing Investigation
• 26. Loyd Jowers's Involvement: August-December, 1993
• 27. Breakthroughs: January-April 15, 1994
• 28. Setbacks and Surprises: April 16-0ctober 30, 1994
• 29. Raul: October 31, 1994-July 5,1995
• 30. Orders to Kill
• 31. Chronology
• 32. Conclusion


The Klan had a special arrangement with the 20th SFG. The 20th SFG actually trained klansmen in the use of firearms and other military skills at a secret camp near Cullman, Alabama, in return for intelligence on local black leaders. The earliest of such training exercises began on November 12, 1966. Some members of the 20th SFG also used these sessions for illegal weapons sales. The U.S. Strike Command (CINCSTRIKE) was the overall coordinating command (which could call upon all military forces on U.S. soil) for the purpose of responding to urban riots in 1967-1968. At that time it included liaison officers from the CIA, FBI, and other nonmilitary state and federal agencies. It was headquartered at MacDill air force base in Tampa, Florida, and the ACSI and USAINTC commanders were primary leaders in developing CINCSTRIKE strategy for the mobilization of forces as required for defensive action inside CONUS.

-- Orders to Kill: The Truth Behind the Murder of Martin Luther King, by Dr. William F. Pepper
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Postby admin » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:36 am

Dr. William F. Pepper is James Earl Ray's attorney. He is a barrister in England, a U.S. Attorney and an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He practices international, human rights and constitutional law from London, has represented governments and heads of state, and appeared as an expert on international law issues. He has published two other books and various articles.


The Memphis Police Department (MPD) in 1968

Frank C. Holloman former FBI agent and Director of Memphis Police and Fire Departments
J. C. MacDonald Chief of police
William O. Crumby Assistant Chief
Sam Evans Inspector-head of all Special Services including the emergency tactical units (TACT)
Don Smith Inspector in charge of Dr. King's personal security in Memphis in the 1960
N. E. Zachary Inspector-homicide
Eli H. Arkin operational head of the intelligence bureau
J. C. Davis detective in the intelligence bureau
Emmett Douglass driver of TACT 10 cruiser on afternoon of April 4, 1968
Joe B. Hodges patrolman/ dog officer
Barry Neal Linville homicide detective
Marrell McCollough undercover intelligence officer assigned to infiltrate the Invaders
Ed Redditt black detective seconded to intelligence bureau
Willie B. Richmond black intelligence bureau officer
Jim Smith officer assigned to Special Services and detailed to intelligence; later attorney general's investigator
Tommy Smith homicide detective
Jerry Williams black detective

The Memphis Fire Department in 1968

Carthel Weeden captain in charge of station 2
Lt. George Loenneke second in command station 2
William King fireman station 2
Floyd Newsom black fireman station 2
Norvell Wallace black fireman station 2

The Judges

Preston Battle, Jr. Shelby County Criminal Court trial judge in 1968
Joe Brown, Jr. Shelby County Criminal Court trial judge in 1994-95

The Prosecutors

Phil Canale Shelby County District Attorney General in 1968-69
John Pierotti Shelby County District Attorney General in 1993-95

James Earl Ray's Lawyers

Arthur Hanes Sr. & Arthur (now Judge) Hanes Jr. James Earl Ray's first lawyers
Percy Foreman James Earl Ray's second lawyer
Hugh Stanton Sr. court appointed defense co-counsel with Percy Foreman in 1968-69
James Lesar James Earl Ray's lawyer in the early 1970s
Jack Kershaw James Earl Ray's lawyer in the mid 1970s
Mark Lane James Earl Ray's lawyer from 1977 to the early 1980s
William F. Pepper (Author) chief counsel 1988 to present
Wayne Chastain Memphis attorney-defense associate counsel 1993 to present; Memphis Press Scimitar reporter in 1968

The U.S. Government

Executive Branch in 1967-68

Lyndon Baines Johnson President
Robert S. McNamara Secretary of Defense

The FBI in 1967-68

J. Edgar Hoover The director
Clyde Tolson associate director; close friend and heir of J. Edgar Hoover
Cartha DeLoach assistant Director
William C. Sullivan assistant director in charge of Domestic Intelligence Division and expansion of COINTELPRO (Counter-Intelligence Program) operations
Patrick D. Putnam special agent seconded to U.S. army Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence
Robert G. Jensen special agent in charge (SAC) Memphis field office
William Lawrence special agent in charge of intelligence for the Memphis field office
Joe Hester Memphis field office special agent in charge of coordinating the Memphis area investigation
Al Sentinella FBI special agent in the Atlanta field office who controlled SCLC informant James Harrison in 1967-68
Arthur Murtagh FBI agent assigned to the Atlanta field office in 1967-68

The CIA in 1967-68

Richard M. Helms Director

U.S. Army in 1967-68


Gen. Harold Johnson Chief of Staff


Brigadier General William M. Blakefield Commanding officer United States Army Intelligence Command
Major General William P. Yarborough Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence ("ACSI")
Gardner (pseudonym) key aide of 902nd Military Intelligence Group
Col. F. E. van Tassell Commanding Officer, ACSI office security and Counter-Intelligence Analysis Board ("CIAB")
Gardner's aide (pseudonym) Gardner's aide-his number two
Herbert (pseudonym) staff officer ACSI's office, Pentagon
Col. Robert McBride Commanding officer 111th Military Intelligence Group, Ft. McPherson, Georgia


Co1. Henry M. Cobb, Jr. Commanding Officer
Major Bert E. Wride second in command
Capt. Billy Eidson (dec.) Alabama contingent
Second Lt. Robert Worley (dec.) Mississippi contingent
Staff Sgt. Murphy (pseudonym) Alabama contingent
Staff Sgt. Warren (pseudonym) Alabama contingent
Buck Sgt. J. D. Hill (dec.) Mississippi contingent


Reynolds (pseudonym) photographic surveillance officer
Norton (pseudonym) photographic surveillance officer

The House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA)

Louis Stokes Chairman of the HSCA
Richard Sprague former Pennsylvania prosecutor and first HSCA chief counsel in 1976
Robert Blakey chief counsel of the HSCA 1977-79
Walter Fauntroy Chairman sub-committee on the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1976-79

Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) Officials In 1967-68 Who Were Witnesses To Significant Events Or On The Scene

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. president
Rev. Dr. Ralph D. Abemathy vice president/treasurer
Rev. Andrew Young executive vice president
Rev. Hosea Williams chief field organizer
Rev. James Orange field organizer
Rev. James Lawson Memphis representative who invited Dr. King to Memphis

The Invaders in 1967-68

Charles Cabbage
Dr. Coby Smith
"Big" John Smith
Charles "Izzy" Harrington
Calvin Taylor

Other Significant Figures

Lavaca (Whitlock) Addison owner of a restaurant frequented by Frank C. Liberto in 1978
Willie Akins friend of Loyd Jowers
Amaro ("Armando") cousin of Raul
Walter Bailey owner/manager of the Lorraine Motel in 1968
Clifton Baird Louisville, Kentucky police officer in 1965
Arthur Baldwin Memphis topless club owner in the 1970s
Myron Billet occasional driver for Chicago mob leader Sam Giancana in the 1960s
Kay Black reporter for the Memphis Press Scimitar in 1968
Ray Blanton Governor of Tennessee in 1976 when Ray escaped from prison
Earl Caldwell New York Times reporter at the Lorraine Motel on April 4, 1968
Carson (pseudonym) associate/friend of Sgt. J. D. Hill of 20th SFG
Sid Carthew British merchant seaman who visited the Neptune tavern in Montreal in 1967
Cheryl (pseudonym) acquaintance/associate of Amaro ____ and his cousin Raul ____ from 1962-1979
Joe "Zip" Chimento Marcello New Orleans associate and coordinator of Marcello weapons trading and gunrunning in 1967-68
Chuck (pseudonym) six year old boy in 1968, alledgedly sitting in parked car on Mulberry Street at the time of the shooting
Morris Davis FBI/DEA informant in 1968 and HSCA informant/researcher in 1977-78
Daniel Ellsberg former defense department specialist who released the Pentagon Papers
Hickman Ewing, Jr . former U .S. attorney and chief prosecuting counsel for the television trial of James Earl Ray
April Ferguson associate of Mark Lane in 1978 and defense co-counsel for the television trial of James Earl Ray
Marvin E. Frankel former U .S. federal District Court judge and judge for the television trial of James Earl Ray
Eric S. Galt employee in 1967-68 at Union Carbide Corporation's Toronto operation with U.S. government Top Secret security clearance; the identity used by James Earl Ray in 1967-68
Lewis Garrison Memphis attorney for Loyd Jowers
Memphis Godfather Carlos Marcello's principal associate in Memphis
James Harrison SCLC controller in 1967-68 and paid FBI informant
Ray Alvis Hendrix eyewitness who left Jim's Grill ten to fifteen minutes before the shooting on April 4, 1968
Kenneth Herman Memphis private investigator
O. D. Hester "Slim" friend of Ezell Smith
Frank Holt trucker's helper employed by M. E. Carter in 1968
Charles Hurley Memphis resident who picked up his wife in front of the rooming house on the afternoon of April 4, 1968
Solomon Jones Dr. King's driver in Memphis in 1968
Loyd Jowers owner of Jim's Grill on South Main Street in Memphis in 1968
Jim Kellum Memphis private investigator for the defense
(William) Tim Kirk inmate at Shelby County Jail 1978, and at Riverbend Maximum Security Prison in 1992-present
Reverend Samuel "Billy" Kyles Memphis minister
James Latch Vice president of Memphis LL&L Produce Company and partner of Liberto in 1968
Frank Camille Liberto President of LL&L Produce Company in Memphis in 1968
Phillip Manuel investigator for the Permanent Sub-Committee on Investigations of the United States Senate in 1968
Carlos Marcello New Orleans, mafia leader in 1967-68
John W. ("Bill") McAfee Memphis photographer covering Dr. King on assignment from network television on April 4, 1968
James McCraw Yellow Cab driver in 1968, driving on the evening of April 4
John McFerren Somerville, Tennessee businessman and civil rights leader in 1968
Sheriff Bill Morris Shelby County Sheriff in 1967-68
Red Nix Marcello organization contract killer
Oliver Patterson FBI and HSCA informant in 1977-78
Paul ____ Yellow Cab driver in 1968, driving on the evening of April 4
Raul ____ shadowy figure whom James Earl Ray met in the Neptune Bar in Montreal in July 1967
James Earl Ray the alleged assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who has as of March 10, 1995 been in prison for 26 years
Jerry Ray youngest brother of James Earl Ray
John Ray younger brother of James Earl Ray
William Zenie Reed eyewitness who left Jim's Grill ten to fifteen minutes before the shooting on April 4, 1968
Randy Rosenson man whose name was on a business card found by James Earl Ray in the Mustang in 1967
Jack Saltman Thames Television producer of the Trial of James Earl Ray in 1993
William Sartor Time magazine stringer and investigative reporter, died mysteriously in 1971
Bobbi Smith waitress at Jim's Grill in 1967-68
Ezell Smith employee at a Liberto family business in Memphis in 1968
Betty Spates mistress of Loyd Jowers in 1967-68 and waitress at Jim's Grill
Dr. Benjamin Spock pediatrician, author, political activist and potential "ice president candidate on a proposed King-Spock ticket in 1968
Gene Stanley
former U .S. Attorney and Knoxville lawyer for Randy Rosenson in the 1970s
Charles Quitman Stephens 422-1/2 South Main Street rooming house tenant in room 6-B and State's chief witness against James Earl Ray in 1968
Maynard Stiles deputy director of the Memphis Public Works department in 1968
Alexander Taylor senior Florida intelligence officer in 1968
Steve Tompkins Memphis Commercial Appeal reporter in 1993
Ross Vallone Houston associate of Carlos Marcello in 1967-68
Louie Ward Yellow Cab driver in 1968, driving on the evening of April 4
Nathan Whitlock son of Lavada (Whitlock) Addison who met Frank C. Liberto in 1978 in his mother's restaurant
John Willard alias used by James Earl Ray for renting a room at 422-1/2 South Main Street on April 4, 1968
Glenn Wright prosecution co-counsel in the television trial of James Earl Ray
Walter Alfred "Jack" Youngblood U .S. army Vietnam Special Operations Group operative, pilot, intelligence agent and mercenary
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Postby admin » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:49 am


LIKE MOST PEOPLE, I accepted the official story about how Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was murdered. I believe this was the result of my naivete or perhaps the desire to put the loss of a friend behind me. In any case, when Dr. Benjamin Spock, the pediatrician and antiwar activist, and I traveled to Memphis for the memorial march on April 8, 1968, four days after the assassination, so far as I was concerned it was in the hands of the police.

In the following years, I heard about inconsistencies in the state's case and rumors of a conspiracy in which James Earl Ray was framed for Dr. King's murder. Then in 1977-1978, at the Rev. Ralph Abernathy's request I prepared for and then conducted a five-hour interview of James Earl Ray. Since that time, the mystery of Dr. King's assassination has dominated much of my life. In no small measure I suppose this is because of the responsibility I feel for having initially prompted him to oppose the Vietnam War -- for that stand was a major factor contributing to his death.

The intervening years have only strengthened my belief that Dr. King's assassination constituted the greatest loss suffered by the republic this century. To understand his death it is essential to realize that though he is popularly depicted and perceived as a civil rights leader, he was much more. A nonviolent revolutionary, he personified the most powerful force for long overdue social, political, and economic reconstruction of the nation.

Those in charge of the United States intelligence, military, and law enforcement machinery understood King's true significance. They perceived his active opposition to the war and is organizing of the poor as grave disruptions to the stability of a society already rife with unrest, and took the position that he was under communist control.

The last year of his life was one of the most turbulent in the history of the nation. Much of the civil unrest took the form of nationwide urban riots and was clearly the result of racial tensions, frustrations and anger at oppressive living conditions and the endemic hopelessness of inner-city life. However, one cannot consider these explosions without taking into account the pervasive presence of the war, its legitimization of violence, and its overall impact on the neighborhoods of the nation. By July 1967, the number of riots and other serious disruptions against public order had reached ninety-three in nineteen states. In August there were an additional thirty-three riots which occurred in thirty-two cities in twenty-two states.

Dr. King was at the center of it all. His unswerving opposition to the war and his commitment to bring hundreds of thousands of poor people to a Washington D.C. encampment in the spring of 1968 to focus Congress's attention on the plight of the nation's poor, turned the government's anxiety into utter panic. I believe that there was no way Dr. King was going to be allowed to lead this army of alienated poor to Washington to take up residence in the shadow of the Washington memorial.

When army intelligence officers interviewed rioters in Detroit after the July 25, 1967 riot-which left nineteen dead, eight hundred injured, and $150 million of property damage -- they were amazed to learn that the leader most respected by those violent teenagers was not Stokely Carmichael nor H. Rap Brown but Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Six weeks after the Detroit riot the National Conference for New Politics (NCNP) scheduled a national convention over the Labor Day weekend in Chicago. The gathering of 5,000 delegates from all around the country and from every walk of life was expected to support a third-party presidential ticket of Dr. King and Dr. Spock. We now know how much shock this prospect caused at the highest levels of government.

So caught up were we in the fight for social change that we didn't appreciate the strength and determination of the opposition. It has become clear to me that by 1967 a siege mentality had descended on the nation's establishment forces, including its federal law enforcement, intelligence and military branches. At the best of times, official Washington and its appendages throughout the country are highly insular and protective. In 1967-1968, with the barbarians, as they would have regarded them, gathering just outside the gates of power, any move in defense of the system and its special economic interests would have been viewed as a patriotic duty. All significant organizations committed to ending the war or fostering social or economic change were infiltrated, subjected to surveillance, and/ or subverted.

This book has been in development since 1978 and reflects a long-term effort to uncover the truth about the assassination. It does not cover the full scope of the investigation since many leads were examined and discarded and much information, however interesting, ultimately turned out to be superfluous to the central story. In 1988, I agreed to represent James Earl Ray, and by 1990 I had become convinced that the only way to end his wrongful imprisonment would be to solve the case. The investigation on which the book is based has been focused on that goal. However, for a period of nearly seven years prior to publication, I've tried in every way possible to put evidence of James's innocence before a court. Frustrated at every turn, I now turn to the court of last resort-the American people.

This story has taken twenty-seven years to unfold. This is largely the result of the creation and perpetration of a cover-up by government authorities at local, state, and national levels.

I've become convinced that, had they not met obstruction from within their own ranks, some of the honest, competent Memphis homicide detectives I've come to know over the years could have ferreted out enough evidence to warrant indicting several Memphians on charges ranging from accessory before and after the fact, to conspiracy to murder, to murder in the first degree. Among those indicted would have been some of their fellow officers. Even without official obfuscation, however, it's unlikely that these detectives could have traced the conspiracy further afield to its various well-insulated sources.

As will become increasingly clear, it was inevitable that such a local police investigation wouldn't be allowed and that each and every politically sponsored official investigation since 1968 would disinform the public and cover up the truth.

Years of investigation led to an unscripted television trial in 1993 that resulted in a not-guilty verdict. My subsequent investigation has unearthed powerful new evidence. The stories of several key witnesses, silent for twenty-seven years, are revealed for the first time. Although we will never know each and every detail behind this most heinous crime, we now have enough hard facts to overwhelmingly support James Earl Ray's innocence. The body of new evidence, if formally considered, would compel any independent grand jury-which, as of the time of this writing, we have been seeking for a year and a half-to issue indictments against perpetrators who are still alive. Even as this book goes to press we are pursuing all possible avenues through the courts to obtain justice and free James, as well as to bring to account those guilty parties whom we have identified.

Ultimately, there are many victims in this case: Dr. King; James Earl Ray; their families, and the citizens of the United States. All have been victimized by the abject failure of their democratic institutions. The assassination of Martin Luther King and its coverup extends far and wide into all levels of government and public service. Through the extensive control of information and the failure of the system of checks and balances, government has inevitably come to serve the needs of powerful special interests. As a result, the essence of democracy-government of, by, and for the people-has been terminally eroded.

Thus, what begins as a detective story ends as a tragedy of unimagined proportions: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., is dead; James Earl Ray remains in prison; many of the guilty remain free, some even revered and honored; and our faith in the United States of America is shaken to the core.

William F. Pepper
London, England
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Postby admin » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:49 am


ACLU American Civil Liberties Union
ACSI Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence
agency Central Intelligence Agency
Alpha 184 Team Operation Detachment Alpha 184 Team. Special Forces Field Training Team in specialized civilian disguise selected from 20th SFG
AFSCME Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal
Employees Union
agent provocateur covert operative used to infiltrate a targeted group and influence its activity
AUTOVON first generation fax machine-state of the art in 1967
ASA Army Security Agency
asset government independent contract agent whose actions may be officially denied
behind the fence operation covert, officially deniable operations
body mass assassin's human target area-the chest area
BOP Black Organizing Project (companion organization of the Invaders)
bureau Federal Bureau of Investigation
center mass another term for "body mass" (see above)
CIA Central Intelligence Agency
CIAB Counterintelligence Analysis Board
CINCSTRIKE Commander-in-Chief U.S. Strike Command
C.O. Commanding Officer
COINTELPRO-FBI counterintelligence program aimed at targeted dissenting/protest groups.
COME Community on the Move for Equality (coalition of labor and civil rights groups in Memphis formed at the time of the sanitation workers strike spearheaded by an interracial committee organized by local clergy)
COMINFIL FBI designation for a communist infiltration investigation of a targeted group
committee House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations
CONUS Continental United States
D.A. District Attorney
DEA Drug Enforcement Agency
DEFCON Acronym for national security emergency with seriousness expressed in ascending order, e.g. DEFCON 2, 3, 4
DIA Defense Intelligence Agency
ELINT electronic intelligence surveillance
FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation
HSCA House of Representatives Select Committee on Assassinations
HUMINT Human Intelligence Source (informer)
IEOC Intelligence Emergency Operation Center-army intelligence communications and deployment centre which was established in an area where civil unrest was anticipated
Invaders small militant black organizing group in Memphis, oriented toward self-help
IRR Investigative Records Repository-army intelligence records repository at Fort Holabird where intelligence files on civilians were kept
LAWS light anti-tank weapon rockets
LL&L Liberto, Liberto & Latch (produce company owned by Frank C. Liberto )
MIGs Military Intelligence Groups (counterintelligence)
MPD Memphis Police Department
NAACP National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
NAS Millington Naval Air Station
NCNP National Conference for New Politics
NLF National Liberation Front
NSA National Security Agency
ONI Office of Naval Intelligence
Operation CHAOS CIA program for the collection of information on citizens and groups through the interception and reading of mail, and the placement of informants and covert operators in dissenting organizations
Operation MINARET NSA watch-list program collecting information on individuals and organizations involved in civil disturbances, antiwar movements and military deserters
OS Office of Security-department in CIA from which a variety of super secret covert operations was mounted, often involving members of organized crime
Project MERRIMAC CIA SOG project which focused on infiltration of and spying on ten major peace and civil rights groups
Project RESISTANCE 1967 OS project designed to infiltrate meetings of antiwar protestors, recruit informants and report on black student activities in cooperation with local police
Psy Ops Psychological Operations
recon. reconnaissance
SAC FBI Special Agent in Charge-ranking officer in any field office
SCLC Southern Christian Leadership Conference
SFG Special Forces Group a.k.a. the Green Berets
SNCC Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee
SOG Special Operations Group-small covert often interservice operations groups formed for a particular purpose
TACT (TAC) emergency tactical units deployed in Memphis at the time of the sanitation workers strike which consisted of twelve men in three or four vehicles
TBI Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
USAINTC U .S. Army Intelligence Command (the overall army intelligence organization)
USIB United States Intelligence Board
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Chapter 1: Vietnam: Spring 1966-Summer 1967

THIS STORY BEGINS IN VIETNAM, where I had gone as a freelance journalist in the spring of 1966.

Soon the picture became clear. Wherever I went in South Vietnam, from the southern delta to the northern boundary (I corps), U.S. carpet bombing systematically devastated the ancient, village-based rural culture, slaughtering helpless peasants. Time and again, in hospitals and refugee camps, children, barely human in appearance, their flesh having been carved into grotesque forms by napalm, described the "fire bombs" that rained from the sky onto their hamlets.

After a time in the field, I suffered a minor injury in a crash landing near Pleiku caused by ground fire. I returned to Saigon, where I went to a party held by some casual friends. I was tired and upset. For several days in the Central Highlands I had been confronted with one atrocity after another. Because I was far from a battle-hardened correspondent, I wasn't taking it very well. Soon I was approached by a young Vietnamese woman who solicited information from me. Aided by a few drinks, I expressed my disgust with the U.S. involvement in the war. The woman appeared sympathetic. After that evening, I never saw her again.

The next day I was summoned by Navy Commander Madison, the press accrediting officer, who my colleagues advised was an intelligence operative. He commented on my absence from the daily Saigon press briefings (at which the military line was disseminated) and stated that he had received reports of unacceptable remarks made by me. He advised me that my accreditation was going to be revoked.

I returned home and began to prepare articles for publication and testimony to be given before Sen. Edward M. Kennedy's Subcommittee to Investigate Problems Connected with Refugees and Escapees. My article "The Children of Vietnam" was published by Ramparts in January! 1967, during which time Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was becoming increasingly concerned over the Johnson administration. s plans to reduce its domestic antipoverty spending in order to channel more funds to the war effort.

Dr. King hadn't yet categorically broken with the White House over the issue, but soon after the Ramparts article appeared he received calls from Yale chaplain William Sloane Coffin, Nation editor Carey McWilliams, Socialist Party leader Norman Thomas, and others, urging him to take a more forceful antiwar stand and, indeed, to even consider running as a third-party presidential candidate in 1968. I would later learn that wiretaps of the conversations in which the candidacy was discussed were relayed to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and, through him, to Lyndon Johnson.

On Saturday, January 14, King flew to Jamaica, where he had planned to work on a book about one of his most ardently held beliefs -- the idea of a guaranteed income for each adult citizen. He was accompanied by his friend and associate Bernard Lee. While having breakfast he began to read the January Ramparts. According to Lee, and also recorded by David Garrow in his historical account, Bearing the Cross [1] Dr. King was galvanized by my account of atrocities against civilians and the accompanying photographs. Although he had spoken out against the war before, he decided then and there to do everything in his power to stop it.

Dr. King's new commitment to oppose the war became his priority. He told black trade unionist Cleveland Robinson and longtime advisor Stanley Levison that he was prepared to break with the Johnson administration regardless of the financial consequences and even the personal peril. [2] He saw, as never before, the necessity of tying together the peace and civil rights movements, and soon became involved in the antiwar effort. He spoke at a forum sponsored by the Nation in Los Angeles on February 25, 1967, joined Benjamin Spock (a proposed running mate in his possible third-party candidacy) in his first anti-war march, through downtown Chicago on March 23, and began to prepare for a major address on the war to be presented at the April 15 Spring Mobilization demonstration in New York.

From the beginning of the year, he began to devote more time to the development of a new coalition. He had come to believe it was time to unite the various progressive, single-issue organizations to form a mighty force, whose power would come from increased numbers and pooled funds. The groups all opposed the war and all wanted equal rights for blacks and other minorities, but their primary concern was eliminating poverty in the wealthiest nation on earth. These common issues formed the basis of the "new politics," and the National Conference for New Politics (NCNP) was established to catalyze a nation- wide effort. I was asked to be its executive director.

Though our emphasis was on grassroots political organizing, our disgust with the "old politics," particularly as practiced by the Johnson administration, compelled the NCNP to consider developing an independent presidential candidacy. To decide on this and adopt a platform, a national convention -- to be attended by delegates from every organization for social change across the land-was scheduled for the 1967 Labor Day weekend at the Palmer House in Chicago.

In New York on Tuesday, April 4, exactly twelve months be fore his death, Dr. King addressed an audience of more than three thousand at Riverside Church and made his formal declaration of opposition to the war. He expressed his concern that his homeland, the Great Republic of old, would never again be seen to reflect for the world "the image of revolution, freedom and democracy, but rather come to mirror the image of violence and militarism." He called for conscientious objection, antiwar demonstrations, political activity, and a revolution of values whereby American society would radically shift from materialism to humanism.

Response to the speech was prompt and overwhelmingly condemnatory. Old friends (such as Phil Randolph and Bayard Rustin) either refused to comment publicly or disassociated themselves from King's position. The domestic economic and civil rights progress of Lyndon Johnson was strongly supported by liberals and civil rights leaders who were loathe to alienate the president by opposing his war effort. I noted Dr. King's increasing pessimism that resulted from continued sniping from civil rights leaders like Roy Wilkins of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Whitney Young of the National Urban League. (We didn't know at the time that Wilkins was meeting and working with the FBI's assistant director, Cartha DeLoach, [3] throughout this period.) Even some of King's closest longstanding personal advisors were opposed to the speech. For example, it was ironic that Stanley Levison, long labeled by the FBI as the strongest "communist" influence on Dr. King, attempted in every way possible to restrain. King's efforts to oppose the war formally.

The reaction from newspaper editorials was virtually always negative. The Washington Post, the New York Times, and Life magazine joined the chorus of criticism.

During the run up to the April 15 antiwar demonstration, Dr. King and I discussed not only the effect of the U.S. war effort in Vietnam but also political strategy in general and particular details of the demonstration. Five days before the demonstration, the NAACP board of directors passed a resolution attacking King's effort to link the peace and civil rights movements. Martin said to me in a moment of frustration, "They're all going to turn against me now, but still we must press on. You and the others must not only be steadfast, but constantly so."

He and others asked me to put forward the idea of a King-Spock ticket at the demonstration. He didn't want to appear to be explicitly seeking such a nomination, for the media would certainly paint him as engaging in a self- serving quest, to the detriment of his professed calling and cause. If, on the other hand, he was pressed or drafted into the race, he could answer the call and run-not to win, but to heighten national debate and awareness.

On April 15, as Dr. King concluded his speech by calling on the government to "stop the bombing," the crowd had grown to about 250,000 cheering and chanting partisans. When I put forward the notion of a King-Spock ticket, the assembled mass exploded as one in support. For many of us the end of that demonstration marked the first step in the establishment of a "new politics" in the United States.

On April 23, 1967, as Martin and I rode together to Massachusetts to announce, with Ben Spock, the beginning of a grassroots organizing project called Vietnam Summer, a man whose name meant nothing to us at the time but whose life was to become inextricably intertwined with ours, was being helped into a bread box in the kitchen of the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City. The box was loaded onto a delivery truck that would take James Earl Ray through the gates to freedom.
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Chapter 2: Death of the New Politics: Summer 1967-Spring 1968

THE NCNP CONVENTION ON LABOR DAY WEEKEND 1967 began with great enthusiasm and expectation. Many of us believed that nothing less than the nation's rebirth was on the agenda. Dr. King's rousing keynote address, calling for unity and action, brought forth an overwhelming response from the 5,000 delegates. It was the most political speech he would ever give.

There was, however, an ominous presence. A small aggressive group had pressed each arriving black delegate into a self-styled Black Caucus. Dr. King's safety was in danger from this group, which had threatened to take him hostage, so he had to depart quickly under guard as soon as he finished speaking.

Torn by dissension, the convention descended into a fiasco; any chance of achieving a unified political movement was destroyed.

More than a decade would pass before we would become aware of the extent of the government's role in the disaster. And not until later than that would we realize that a coalition of private and public forces had orchestrated it.

For example, we would learn that a CIA operation, named Operation CHAOS, had been put in place to enable the subversion of dissent and undermine such gatherings of dissenting citizens. Operation CHAOS involved the collection of information on private citizens and groups through the interception and reading of mail, and the placement of informants and covert operators in dissenting organizations. At the NCNP convention, the tactic used was to divide the black and white delegates using the so-called Black Caucus, which we thought at the time was a natural outgrowth of the legitimate Black Power movement.

Black Caucus delegates voted en bloc and used outrageous techniques-provoking strident emotionalism; playing on white guilt, divisiveness, and intimidation; calling for the use of arms; and introducing blatantly anti-Semitic resolutions. Years later we learned that they were organized by the government and backed by federal funds, filtered through Chicago Mayor Richard Daley's antipoverty organization, and that the members included individuals from one of Chicago's most feared street gangs-the Blackstone Rangers.

The convention became hopelessly embroiled in animosity and walkouts by some leading liberal sponsors of the New Politics movement itself. Some, like Martin Peretz (the Harvard instructor, who was one of the moving forces) felt personally betrayed, understandably so considering the amount of time and resources they had expended on the convention. We didn't admit it at the time, but the NCNP died as a political force that weekend. Its focus permanently changed from national political activity to fragmented local political organizing efforts.

The inevitable weakening of these disparate efforts made them easy marks for infiltration by groups of agents provocateurs. (One such organization, the Invaders, would emerge in Memphis. This group of twenty or so black men and women developed a series of programs designed to address local needs by providing services where none had previously existed. The Invaders were significant because of their proximity to Dr. King in the weeks leading up to his assassination. They were infiltrated by intelligence operatives and subjected to surveillance out of all proportion to any threat they might have posed to the Memphis power structure.)


DR. KING AND I KEPT IN TOUCH AFTER THE CONVENTION. Though he was immensely disappointed by the Chicago catastrophe, he nevertheless increased his antiwar efforts. He also threw himself into the development of the Poor People's Campaign, scheduled to assemble in Washington in the late spring of 1968. The first phase of this campaign would bring to Washington up to several hundred thousand blacks, Hispanics, American Indians, poor whites, and compatriot students and intellectuals from allover the country. A tent city would be set up and civil disobedience tactics would be taught and used, if necessary, to get the attention of the White House, Congress, and various government agencies.

This combination of opposition to the war and a call for redistribution of the nation's wealth served to increase King's unpopularity with the government. It also antagonized segments of the black and white middle class as well as the black church. No doubt it confirmed the belief held by certain public and private forces that King was a serious threat to the very order and system of U.S. government. No one could predict what would happen when he led a massive wave of alienated citizens to take up residence in the nation's capital.

Those close to Dr. King noticed how the pace of his radicalization increased in the last year of his life. His analysis of the problems of American society had become much broader. His growing belief in the necessity of dissent against powerful special interests was, in fact, much like Jefferson's assertion that ultimate power should always flow from the people, otherwise tyranny results.

This perspective was driven home to me in the course of our last meeting. The last time I saw him alive was in Dean John Bennett's study at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. It was March 1968, and Andrew Young, executive director of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and Ben Spock were also present. Spock was seeking Martin's active support for draft resistance, since Martin believed that the war was tantamount to genocide by conscription. At this time Martin was becoming fully involved in a strike of sanitation workers in Memphis. He spoke about the necessity of empowering such urban blacks through nonviolent action.
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Chapter 3: Memphis: The Sanitation Workers Strike: February 1968-March 1968

Beginning in February 1968, Dr. King had received regular reports from his friend, Memphis clergyman James Lawson, pastor of Centenary Methodist Church, about the sanitation workers' dispute in that city. Ninety percent of the thirteen hundred sanitation workers in Memphis were black. They had no organization, union or otherwise, to defend their interests and no effective means to air grievances or to seek redress. However, to most of the citizens of Memphis, black and white, a strike against the city was nothing less than rebellion.

In a bitter and frustrating setback for the black community, Henry Loeb, who had been the mayor from 1960 to 1963, defeated incumbent William Ingram, who was regarded as friendly to black Memphians, in the mayoral election. Considering the new mayor's history and reputation, there was no reason for black workers to hope that their working conditions or salaries might improve.

The grievances were many. Salaries were at rock bottom, with no chance of increase. Men were often sent home arbitrarily, losing pay. Much of the equipment was antiquated and poorly maintained. In early 1968 two workers, thirty-five-year-old Echole Cole and twenty-nine-year-old Robert Walker, were literally swallowed up by a malfunctioning "garbage packer" truck. These trucks were over ten years old and in the process of being phased out. There was no workmen's compensation and neither man had life insurance. The city gave each of the families a month's pay and $500 toward funeral expenses. Mayor Loeb said that this was a moral but not a legal necessity. After the deaths of Cole and Walker, talk of a strike was widespread.

Maynard Stiles, who was second-in-command at the Memphis Public Works Department, told me, years after the event, that T. O. Jones, the head of the local union, called him the night before the strike with what Stiles regarded as a very reasonable list of demands. Stiles said that Jones wanted him to go along to the union meeting scheduled for that night and announce the city's agreement with the terms. An elated Stiles called Loeb to advise him that a settlement was at hand on very reasonable terms. Loeb ordered him not to dignify any such meeting with his presence and insisted that no terms be accepted under any circumstances. The union meeting went ahead that evening without Stiles. The next day the strike was on.

The national office of the Association of Federal, State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) sent in professional staff to handle the negotiations, which the mayor insisted on conducting in public, giving neither side any opportunity to change position. With no solution in sight, an interdenominational group of clergy intervened but made no progress.

The deadlock led to a protest march on February 23, which got out of control in the face of heavy police provocation. Ultimately, the police used Mace on men, women, and children-marchers and bystanders alike. Afterward, a strike strategy committee was formed with the Rev. James Lawson as its chairman. Rev. Lawson had been one of the founders of the SCLC and had worked with the organization for a decade. Dr. King regarded him highly.

Meanwhile, Dr. King was closing a leadership conference in Miami. While knowing that most of his audience disagreed with the Poor People's Campaign, he insisted that the nation had to be awakened to the issues of poverty and hunger. The shantytown he planned to erect in Washington would ensure that the plight of the American poor would be foremost in the consciousness of the people of the nation, even the world.

"We are Christian ministers and ... we are God's sanitation workers, working to clear up the snow of despair and poverty and hatred. ..." he told them.

In Memphis, a city injunction against the strike intensified the black community's support for the sanitation workers, and consumer boycotts and daily marches through the downtown area were organized. The director of the Memphis police and fire departments, Frank Holloman, who had agreed that he would allow the marches if they were peaceful, withdrew many of the visible, uniformed police. Holloman had been a special agent of the FBI for twenty-five years. For seven of those years (1952-1959), he had been in charge of director J. Edgar Hoover's Washington office. In Memphis he had no support from the black leaders. Internally he relied heavily on his chief, J. C. MacDonald (who in 1968 was close to retirement), a group of seven assistant chiefs, Inspector Sam Evans who was in charge of all Special Services, and Lieutenant Eli H. Arkin of the police department's intelligence bureau.


The growing involvement of young blacks, particularly high school students who were being organized by the Invaders and their parallel organization, the Black Organizing Project (BOP), brought an increased volatility to the strike. During a boycott of local merchants, these young people harassed blacks who made purchases in downtown stores. The militants made themselves heard throughout the dispute, and various Invaders were arrested for disorderly conduct, for trying to persuade students to leave school, and for blocking traffic. In retrospect, the Invaders' actions seem mild in comparison with those of other black power groups in other parts of the country.

Community on the Move for Equality (COME), a coalition of labor and civil rights groups spearheaded by an Internal Committee of local clergy, which was now running the strike, sought national as well as local publicity, scheduling nationally prominent leaders to speak in Memphis in support of the workers. The local NAACP chapter asked Roy Wilkins to come; the local union sought to bring in longtime civil rights leader Bayard Rustin; and the Rev. Lawson raised the possibility of bringing Dr. King to Memphis. Wilkins and Rustin finally agreed to come on March 14.

Lawson, who had been keeping Dr. King abreast of developments, approached him in late February when the civil rights leader was close to physical exhaustion. It was around this time that his doctor had ordered complete rest.


At first King had been reluctant to become directly involved. He had delivered speeches in Memphis but had never headed any civil rights activity there aside from leading the so-called "march against fear," which was organized in response to the Mississippi shooting of James Meredith, the first black to enroll at the University of Mississippi. But even though some SCLC executive staff wanted to stay away from the strike, Dr. King came to see it as being directly relevant to the national campaign.

What group could be more illustrative of the exploitation he sought to dramatize than these lowliest nonunion workers who daily took the garbage away from the city's homes? King's involvement was potentially a high-profile activity (though with some risks) that would lead naturally into the Washington Poor People's Campaign. Because Memphis contained a small, militant, black organizing group (the Invaders) as well as the more conservative, southern black congregations, it was, in his view, a microcosm of the nation, with all of the attendant problems and obstacles to the development of a successful coalition. How could he turn his back on the real, current struggle of the Memphis sanitation workers?

In early March the Rev. Lawson made the announcement that the city had been waiting for. The SCLC had transferred a March 18 staff meeting scheduled for Clarksdale, Mississippi, to Memphis, and on that evening Dr. King would address a gathering of strike supporters.
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Chapter 4: Enter Dr. King: March-April 3, 1968

Although Dr. King had experienced problems and setbacks, particularly concerning his position against the war, no one approached his stature on the national scene as a spokesman for the black and poor of America. His involvement would inevitably focus national attention on the strike, its issues, and its nonviolent tactics.

On March 18, the Mason Temple overflowed. Crowds sat on the floor, on the stairs, in the aisles and doorways; scores of others stood in the street. Dr. King entered through a side door, and a human wedge of burly volunteers ,swept him along to the podium. The sound of applause and stamping feet increased to a deafening roar. Reverend Ralph Abernathy, vice president of SCLC, told me it was one of the most moving welcomes he had ever seen.

When King advocated a general work stoppage in Memphis, the Temple nearly burst into pandemonium. He sat down to tumultuous applause and then received a note, initialed by Andy Young and Ralph Abernathy, suggesting that he return to lead a march on the day of the work stoppage.

Dr. King returned to the microphone and said that perhaps the Poor People's Campaign could begin in Memphis. If the people wanted him to, he would lead such a march to city hall. The response was predictable. The date was set for March 22, four days later. Organizers began to spread the word that Dr . King would return to Memphis to lead a march on Friday from Clayborn Temple to city hall. Ten thousand marchers were expected.

White apprehension rose. Hate literature was circulated throughout the city. Then, incredibly, on the day before the march, the city, whose average annual snowfall was only 5.6 inches, was buried by a blizzard that dumped 16.2 inches of snow, the second-largest snowfall ever recorded in Memphis. The city was virtually shut down and the march had to be postponed until Thursday, March 28. Early on the morning of the march, King left New York City for Memphis.

Organizers began to intercept students on the way to school or even at the school gates, urging them to join the march. A confrontation between police and students at Hamilton High School resulted in a student being injured. Word spread that the police had killed a girl at the school, and the young people's anger grew. It was not an auspicious start for Dr. King's nonviolent march.

The Memphis police department (MPD) was completely mobilized that morning, with over 300 officers supplemented by fifty sheriffs deputies committed to the general march area. Emergency mobile TACT units run by Inspector Sam Evans were also standing by. Each unit consisted of twelve sheriffs deputies and MPD officers, with three cars and four men to each car. This was the first use of a TACT squad in Memphis. Since there weren't enough shotguns to go around, a number of officers carried their personal weapons.

The police were anxious. Riot training had been virtually nonexistent in Memphis, except for a special, elite group. Their own constantly circling helicopter only added to the uneasiness.

Dr. King was late and the crowd became increasingly restless. Some leaders, such as the Rev. Samuel "Billy" Kyles, wanted to start the march without King, but Reverend Lawson insisted on waiting. For a long time Lawson had tried to involve Kyles in the strike support planning sessions but finally agreed with the others that it was a waste of time -- for Kyles rarely, if ever, showed up; though he frequently attended the public meetings.

Dr. King and Ralph Abernathy finally arrived at the march site just before 11:00 a.m., having been driven directly from the airport. They led the march, linking arms with local ministers, but signs of unrest were everywhere. Trouble began in short order as the line of march proceeded up Beale to Main. The sounds of glass breaking, isolated at first, got louder and more frequent. Youths ran alongside the line of march, ignoring the marshals' instructions. Chaos descended, and Dr. King was persuaded to leave the area. A car was flagged down and he was taken to the Rivermont Hotel at the direction of the police, being escorted by motorcycle officer Lt. Marion Nichols. He was given lodging even though he had no reservation at that hotel (rooms having been reserved at the Peabody Hotel).

After Dr. King had been spirited away, Lawson moved through the line of march with a bullhorn, urging everyone to return to the church where they had begun. As thousands began to turn around, the sounds of breaking glass continued. Youths darted from one store to another, shattering windows. Some began looting, but eyewitnesses maintain that they were followed by older, more experienced hands who quickly and efficiently took advantage of the window-breaking, entered the stores, and came away with goods. The police moved in behind the disorganized crowd and fired Mace and tear gas.

Around 11:30 a.m. Frank Holloman and Mayor Loeb called Gov. Buford Ellington and requested the Tennessee National Guard. By noon, a contingent of the State Highway Patrol was on the way to Memphis and the first National Guard units were assembling.

The police and the sheriffs officers randomly clubbed a number of onlookers and customers of stores, pool halls, restaurants, and lounges, which, under the orders of Inspector Sam Evans, were forcibly closed. A sixteen-year-old boy, Larry Payne, was shot and killed by the police who claimed he was a looter, and when cornered, had pulled a knife. An eyewitness said that Payne had his hands up when shot. A knife was allegedly found at the scene, but no fingerprints were on it. That evening, a curfew was put in place and Guardsmen descended on the city from all over western Tennessee, accompanied by eight armored personnel carriers.

By Friday morning, 282 persons had been arrested and held without bond; sixty-four persons were treated in hospital emergency rooms by midnight Thursday, with another ten coming in over the weekend. Dr. King was savagely attacked by the media and the Washington establishment. Congressmen tripped over each other in their haste to condemn him and to demand hat on the basis of the Memphis experience the Poor People's Campaign in Washington be called off.

Dr. King's SCLC aides, who had had no hand in planning the march, believed that local incompetence had set them up for this disaster. Rev. Lawson believed that the young militants, who hadn't been involved in planning the march either, would have to be brought in with the SCLC. Dr. King met with three leaders of the Invaders Charles Cabbage, Calvin Taylor, and Charles "Izzy" Harrington) the morning after the march, and it was agreed that that Invaders would be fully involved in the planning and development of strategy for the next one. Though depressed over the violence, Dr. King was buoyed by the meeting. At an afternoon press conference he expressed confidence in the new working relationship. He also confirmed that he would take time out from his schedule to prepare for the Washington campaign, and once again return to Memphis to lead a large nonviolent march. This time the SCLC would assist in the planning. Meanwhile, the boycott and local marches would continue. Nonviolence was still seen as the only viable strategy.

The following Saturday, March 30, SCLC staff and some board members met in Atlanta to discuss whether to continue in Memphis. Some in the SCLC staff (including newcomer Jesse Jackson) counseled him to cut his losses and turn his attention to the Poor People's Campaign.

Ralph Abernathy told me that King privately had made the decision to march again in Memphis, but understandably he wanted the SCLC's support. Finally Dr. King obtained the support he wanted. The decision to return became official on Saturday afternoon, March 30, 1968.

On March 31, in an act that I long regarded as unrelated to the events of this story, Lyndon Johnson announced before a nationwide radio and television audience that he wouldn't seek reelection. Fifteen days earlier Robert Kennedy had announced his intention to challenge Johnson for the presidency. I would learn years later that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had informed Johnson around that time that Kennedy had been attempting to reach Dr. King to advise him of his decision. Kennedy was seeking King's support and participation in what promised to be a difficult and bitter campaign.

SCLC organizers-including James Bevel, James Orange and Jesse Jackson-went ahead to Memphis to take over the arrangements for the march, the date of which was firmly set for April 5. Six thousand union members from all over the country were to come to Memphis. One after another, labor and civil rights groups announced their support.

On Monday, April 1, Mayor Loeb announced the end of the curfew, and units of the National Guard slowly began to leave, ready to be called up quickly if needed for the next march. The funeral for Larry Payne, the sixteen-year-old casualty of the first march, was held at the Clayborn Temple the next day, followed by a speech by Ralph Abernathy that evening to an overflow crowd. He checked in at the Peabody that evening, but the next day would transfer to the Lorraine when Dr. King arrived.

On Wednesday morning, city attorney Frank Gianotti appeared in U.S. district court before Judge Bailey Brown and requested a temporary restraining order against certain named out-of-state residents (King, Abernathy, Hosea Williams, James Bevel, James Orange, and Bernard Lee) to prevent them "from organizing in or engaging in a nuisance parade or march in the city of Memphis." Judge Brown issued the restraining order but set it down for a hearing the next morning.

Dr. King's flight arrived in Memphis at 10:33 a.m., having been delayed by a bomb threat. His party was picked up and taken straight to the Lorraine Motel. After checking in, they went to the Rev. Lawson's Church to meet with clergy and union leaders and with one set of lawyers. Then they adjourned to the Lorraine Motel to eat in the restaurant and meet with the BOP group around 4:00 p.m. At that meeting Dr. King agreed to assist in the funding of a black cooperative and a "liberation" school.

The Lorraine, today the National Civil Rights Museum, is a two-story building at 406 Mulberry Street, located in a rundown warehouse and rooming house area of the city, five blocks south of Beale Street and a block east of South Main (see Chart 1, the front's piece) .It had been black-owned and operated from its beginning. Walter and Lorraine "Lurlee" Bailey took it over in 1955 when it was a fourteen-room structure. By 1965 it had nearly fifty new units and a swimming pool. It was a family-run motel, with Bailey and his wife doing most of the work and cooking.

Checking in with the SCLC advance staff on April 2 were James Laue of the Justice Department's Community Relations Service (room 308) and photographer Joseph Louw, who had been traveling with Dr. King while working on a documentary about the Poor People's Campaign (room 309).

Dr. King was scheduled to address a mass meeting at the Mason Temple, and, in spite of a storm, several thousand people were expected. Ralph Abernathy told me that King was tired and wanted to stay at the motel and meet and talk to a few people. As he had done the night before, he asked Ralph Abernathy to stand in for him and address the group.

Abernathy remembered entering the side door of the temple, drawing applause as he was recognized. The applause subsided when the crowd failed to see Dr. King behind him. He didn't even attempt to speak but instead went around the side of the hall to a telephone in the vestibule from which he called Dr. King and told him, "Your people are here tonight and you ought to come and talk to them. This isn't my crowd. It's your crowd. I can look at them and tell you that they didn't come tonight to hear Abernathy. They came tonight in this storm to hear King."

King came.

Tornado warnings had been issued. The storms swept out of Arkansas and across Tennessee and Kentucky, leveling houses, barns, utility lines, and trees. It left twelve people dead and more than 100 injured. The wail of civil defense sirens sounded across the city, adding to the eerie and expectant atmosphere inside the Mason Temple. Dr. King arrived around 9:00 p.m. to rapturous applause.

Dr. King's speech, his last, was one of his most famous, and certainly, his most prophetic, ending:

... Like anybody, I would like to live a long life.
Longevity has its Place.
But I'm not concerned about that now.
I just want to do God's will.
And he's allowed me to go up to the mountain and I've looked over
and I've seen the Promised Land.
I may not get there with you.
But I want you to know tonight
So I'm happy tonight.
I'm not worried about anything, I'm not fearing any man.
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Chapter 5: The Assassination: April 4, 1968

THURSDAY, APRIL 4, was the fifty-third day of the strike. While Dr. King slept, Judge Bailey Brown began to hear arguments on whether the temporary restraining order should be made permanent, thus making it illegal for the march which had been rescheduled for April 8 to go ahead. The legal team representing Dr. King and his colleagues requested a dismissal or a modification of the existing order and proposed a series of restrictions on the march, acceptable to Dr. King. Around 4:00 p.m. that afternoon, Judge Brown announced that he was going to let the march proceed, subject to those restrictions.

In the late morning Dr. King met with some of the Invaders and then met with Abernathy over lunch in their room, 306. Abernathy recalled that after the meal, Dr. King and his younger brother, Alfred Daniel "A. D." King, who had arrived unexpectedly, joked with their mother on the telephone to Atlanta, probably from A.D.'s room, 201. Shortly afterward the executive staff meeting began in room 306. Hosea Williams has told me that at that meeting Dr. King took him to task for attempting to put some of the Invaders on the SCLC's staff (Hosea was always a keen strategist, and he saw the usefulness of co-opting some of the Invader leadership to their side). Dr. King said that he couldn't appreciate anyone who hadn't learned to accept nonviolence, at least as a tactic in the struggle if not in one's way of life. He said he didn't want the SCLC to employ anyone who didn't totally accept nonviolence.

The meeting was in full swing when Andy Young returned from court to give his report. He was later than expected and had also neglected to call in and give a report on how the proceedings in court were going, as King had asked him to do. He was jokingly taken to task. Hosea remembers Dr. King tussling with him in the room, saying, "I'll show you who the leader is."


Just about the time that the staff meeting was heating up in the motel, less than three hundred feet away a man calling himself John Willard was registering for a sleeping room in the rear of the South Main Street rooming house whose back faced the Lorraine. Also during this time, one of the SCLC's senior field organizers, the Rev. James Orange, went off to do some shopping, driven by Invader Marrell McCollough. On the way back to the motel they picked up James Bevel at Clayborn Temple.

About two hours later, J. Edgar Hoover was about to have the first of his predinner martinis at his usual table at Harvey's Restaurant in Washington. The fact that he attended Harvey's for dinner as usual on that day would be cited by defenders of the FBI as indicating a lack of knowledge of the events that were to take place in the next half hour.

Reverend Ky1es stated that he arrived at the motel around 3;00 p.m. and went from room to room for a period of time, visiting with various people. Dr. King and about fourteen other aides were to go to his house for a buffet dinner organized by his wife, Gwen. In At the River 1 Stand, [4] Joan Beifuss records in detail Kyles's comments on his activity during the last hour of Dr. King's life, which have now become accepted as fact. In light of what I learned later, I believe it useful to quote verbatim from her transcription of Kyles's story:

Ralph was dressed when I got in [to room 306] and Martin was still dressing. ... Ralph said, "All right now, Billy. I don't want you fooling me tonight. Are we going to have soul food? Now if we go over there and get some filet mignon or T-bone, you're going to flunk. ..." Martin says, "Yeah, we don't want it to be like that preacher's house we went to in Atlanta, that great big house. We ... had some ham -- a ham bone -- and there wasn't no meat on it. We had Kool Aid and it wasn't even sweet. ..." I said, "You just get ready. You're late." I had told them 5:00 and I told my wife 6:00. I said, "Hurry up. Let's go."

He was in a real good mood. ... It may have been from what they accomplished in the staff meeting. ... When Martin's relaxed he's relaxed. ... He'd put his shirt on. He couldn't find his tie. And he thought that the staff was playing games with him, but we did find it in the drawer. When he put the shirt on, it was too tight. And I said, "Oh, Doctor, you're getting fat!" He said, "Yeah, I'm doing that."...

Ralph was still doing something. He's very slow. And we went back out together, Dr. King and myself, and stood side by side. ... Solomon Jones [King's local driver] said something about it was getting cool and to get your coat. ... I was greeting some of the people I had not seen. ... Martin was leaning over the railing ....

I called to Ralph to come on. They were getting ready to load up. I said, "I'll come down. Wait a minute. Somebody can ride with me." As I turned and got maybe five steps away this noise sounded. Like a firecracker.

Some minutes after the shot, photographer Joseph Louw snapped the picture flashed around the world that showed a group of SCLC staff, including Andy Young, standing on the balcony pointing in the direction of the back of the rooming house. In the photograph a person is kneeling at the feet of the others, apparently checking Dr. King for life signs. At the time no one seemed to know who this person was.

The first call for help to the police department's dispatcher was recorded at 6:03 p.m. Calls went out from police dispatch and fire station 2 diagonally opposite the Lorraine, where patrolman Willie B. Richmond had sounded the alert.

Lt. Judson E. Ghormley of the Shelby County Sheriffs Department commanded TACT unit 10 (TACT 10) that afternoon. They were in place with three cars at fire station 2 on South Main and Butler. The TACT units each consisted of twelve officers from the MPD and the Shelby County sheriffs department. All, except officer Emmett Douglass, who was sit- ting in the unit's station wagon monitoring the radio, were inside the fire station drinking coffee, playing ping-pong, making phone calls, or talking. When the shot rang out and Richmond called out, "Dr. King has been shot!" all of the men ran out the north exit of the station and around to the rear of the building. Ghormley said he stopped at the concrete wall at the rear of the fire station, turned around, ran back to the front of the station, and headed north up South Main toward the rooming house, arriving in front of the recessed doorway of Canipe Amusement Company at 424 South Main within two minutes of the shot. There he found a bundle that contained a gun inside a cardboard box and several other items, including nine 30.06 unfired rifle bullets. One of the two customers in Canipe Amusement Company and Canipe himself described hearing a thump as the bundle was dropped and said that they noticed a young man pass by and a white Mustang parked just south of the shop pull away.

Sheriff's deputy Vernon Dollahite apparently arrived shortly after Ghormley from the opposite direction, having continued from the motel around the block up to South Main. He entered Jim's Grill located directly beneath the rooming house where John Willard had rented a room. (See Chart 1, page xxxiii). Dollahite ordered Loyd Jowers, the owner and manager of the grill, to lock the door and let no one in or out.

According to those present, Dr. King was lifted onto a stretcher and carried down the stairs to a waiting ambulance. Ralph Abernathy rode with him to St. Joseph's Hospital. Bernard Lee, Andy Young, and Chauncey Eskridge, King's personal lawyer, followed behind in a car driven by Solomon Jones, a driver for the R. S. Lewis Funeral Home who had been provided to Dr. King as his chauffeur when he was in Memphis.

At that time Mayor Henry Loeb was on his way, driving south on Interstate 55 for a speaking engagement at the University of Mississippi. He spotted Sheriff Bill Morris's car. Morris told him what had happened. After the news was confirmed by MPD director Holloman, Loeb's car turned around and headed back to Memphis.

Around 6;30 p.m. a police dispatcher, William Tucker, received a call from a patrol car that supposedly was chasing a white Mustang across the northern part of the city.

Upon hearing about the shooting, Lorraine Bailey had screamed, run to her room, and collapsed on her bed. She suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital. She never regained consciousness and died the following Tuesday, just as the funeral for Dr. King began in Atlanta.

Rev. A. D. King had been in the shower when the shooting occurred. He was dressing when the ambulance left, and he remained at the motel, waiting for word from the hospital and keeping in touch with his parents in Atlanta.

At St. Joseph's, King was worked on feverishly by a team of five or six doctors in the emergency room while police sealed off the hospital. Early on it became apparent to the medical team that the high-velocity bullet had entered the right lower facial area around the chin, penetrated downward, and severed the spinal cord in both the lower neck, upper chest, and back regions.

Andy Young and Chauncey Eskridge waited in a small anteroom. Ralph Abernathy and Bernard Lee stood against the wall of the small emergency room, waiting while the doctors worked. Finally, neurosurgeon Frederick Gioia approached Abernathy and told him that there was no hope. The only life function remaining was King's heartbeat. Finally, that too ceased. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m. The hospital chaplain, Faith Coleman Bergard, reached the emergency room shortly afterward, and while Dr. King's aides prayed in the anteroom, he bent over the body, prayed, and closed the dead man's eyes.

Having heard about the shooting, Coretta King was on her way to board a plane for Memphis when the news of his death reached her. She returned home to be with their four children. Around this time I was pulling into the driveway of my parents' home in Yonkers, New York. A bulletin announcing Dr. King's shooting came over the radio. Stunned, I sat immobile for several minutes.

For one bright moment back there in the late 1960s we actually believed that we could change our country. We had identified the enemy. We saw it up close and we had its measure -- and we were very hopeful that we would prevail. The enemy was hollow where we had substance; shallow to our depth; callous, cruel, and unfeeling in the face of unashamed caring and love. All our dreams were instantly gone, destroyed by an assassin's bullet. To me they were as dead as the man who in my lifetime had been their prophet and whose remains were by now lying lifeless on a Memphis hospital operating table.

Shortly afterward I called Ben Spock. We arranged to travel together to Memphis for the memorial march the following Monday and then go to Atlanta for the funeral.


Fear and uncertainty prevailed in Memphis that evening. Telephone communications broke down in the central city. Though a curfew had been imposed and the meeting at Mason Temple, at which Dr. King was to speak, had been called off, masses of blacks, some unknowing, some in defiance, converged on the temple. By 8:15 p.m. window-breaking and rock-throwing incidents were increasing. By 9:00 sniper fire was reported in northern Memphis, and by 10:00 a building supplies company, just north of downtown, was the scene of a major fire. Rioting and looting became rampant, with liquor stores the main target. The first contingent of a four-thousand-strong National Guard force moved into the streets, joining the police, sheriffs deputies, state highway patrol, and fifty Arkansas highway patrolmen.

Eventually, Ralph Abernathy, Andy Young, Hosea Williams, and the other SCLC staff members regrouped at the motel and met into the early hours of Friday, April 5. All pledged loyalty to Ralph Abernathy as Dr. King's appointed successor.

By Friday morning the autopsy by Shelby County's medical examiner, Dr. Jerry Francisco, had been completed at John Gaston Hospital. Dr. King's body was then taken to R. S. Lewis and Sons Funeral Home, where people came to pay their respects.

Coretta King was on her way from Atlanta to escort the body home, and the SCLC staff gathered at the funeral home to take the body to the airport when she arrived. She and her children never left the private jet Sen. Robert Kennedy had chartered for her. Attorney General Ramsey Clark visited her on board and publicly announced, "All of our evidence at this time indicates that it was a single person who committed this criminal act."
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Postby admin » Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:52 am

Chapter 6: Aftermath: April 5-18, 1968

ON THE MORNING OF FRIDAY, April 5, President Johnson met with twenty-one civil rights leaders called to Washington from across the country. He then went to the National Cathedral and attended a memorial service for Dr. King in the midst of the ongoing insurrection and civil disorder in the capital.

Compared with the spontaneous violence of the night before, Friday in Memphis was relatively calm, as though the city had spent its anger in one short burst. The situation across the country was very different. By evening at least forty cities were in trouble; states of emergency were declared in Washington D.C., Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Wilmington, Del- aware, and Newark.

Within twenty-four hours of the killing, the 30.06 Remington 760 Gamemaster rifle found in the bundle near the scene was traced, by its serial number, to the Aeromarine Supply Company in Birmingham, Alabama. The manager, Donald Wood, told investigators that a person named Harvey Lowmeyer had first bought a .243 Winchester on March 29 and then, strangely enough, exchanged it for the Remington the next day. On the rifle was a Redfield 2 x 7 telescopic sight which had been mounted at Lowmeyer's request.

A pair of binoculars also found in the bundle in front of Canipe's shop was traced by Memphis police to the York Arms Company, located a few blocks north of the rooming house on Main Street.

The rifle was packed in a Browning rifle box, along with a Remington Peters cartridge box containing nine 30.06 cartridges -- four military type and five Remington Peters soft points. The rifle box had been wrapped in a bedspread, along with a zippered plastic overnight bag containing toiletries, a pair of pliers, a tack hammer, a portable radio, two cans of beer, and a section of the April 4 Memphis Commercial Appeal. In the rifle was an unejected cartridge case.

The Memphis City Council passed a resolution expressing condolences to Dr. King's family and issued a reward of $50,000 for information leading to the capture and conviction of the assassin. Since the Commercial Appeal and the Press Scimitar had also each pledged $25,000, the reward offer came to $100,000.

The march scheduled for Monday, April 8, was to go ahead as a memorial to Dr. King, with a rally in front of city hall, subject to the restrictions previously agreed upon and handed down by judge Bailey Brown. On that cloudy Monday, Dr. Spock and I joined some forty thousand people, mostly local blacks, and slowly marched between the ranks of the five thou- sand National Guardsmen who lined the route from Hernando Street to City Hall.

Eventually Dr. Spock and I mounted the specially erected platform and joined the family, Ralph Abernathy, and others who would address the large outpouring of mourners. We went to Atlanta the next day for the funeral. There were about 100,000 mourners, including Vice Pres. Hubert Humphrey, walking slowly behind a mule-drawn caisson to the campus of Morehouse College for a service and then on to the burial in South View Cemetery. Prominent individuals who had increasingly turned their backs on Dr. King when during his last year he most needed them turned up at his funeral. The hypocrisy sickened me.

That evening, Robert Kennedy invited a number of us to a gathering in his hotel suite. I did not go-I regarded the senator's politically motivated actions as distasteful. I had long ago come to expect that from the Kennedys as a result of my previous experience as Robert Kennedy's Westchester County, New York, citizens chairman during his senatorial campaign in 1964. (We would learn years later that a less mature Attorney General Kennedy had given in to Hoover's pressure to permit the wiretapping of Dr. King.)

Negotiations aimed at settling the Memphis sanitation workers' strike would soon resume under intense presidential pres- sure for a settlement. An agreement was reached on April 16: the union was recognized and a pay raise was agreed to, as were the procedures for a dues checkoff through the Public Workers Federal Credit Union. The strike had lasted sixty-five days.


ON APRIL 10, Mrs. john Riley, in apartment 492 of the Capitol Homes Housing Project in Atlanta, telephoned the local FBI field office to report a Mustang that had been left in a small parking space near her building. She described it as white with a 1968 Alabama plate in the back and two Mexican tourist stickers on the windshield. She had heard that the police were looking for a man driving a white Mustang in connection with the killing of Dr. King. The Mustang, she reported, had been parked in that space since April 5.

A quick check showed that the car was registered in the name of Eric S. Galt, 2608 South Highland Avenue, Birmingham. The ashtray was overflowing with cigarette butts and ashes.

On April 12, the Miami FBI office issued and then immediately withdrew a statewide police bulletin calling for the location -- though not the apprehension-of one Eric Starvo GaIt.

A handwriting comparison indicated that Galt was also the man calling himself Harvey Lowmeyer who bought the rifle at the Aeromarine store in Birmingham. An analysis of fibers found in the trunk of the Mustang matched those on the pillow and sheets in room 5B of the rooming house rented by John Willard on April 4.

From interviews with acquaintances of Galt, the FBI learned that he had attended the International School of Bartending on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. Tomas Reyes Lau, its director, provided a photograph of the man. Money orders cashed in the Los Angeles area, found to have been bought at the Bank of America by Eric S. Galt, were made out to the Locksmithing Institute of Bloomfield, New Jersey. The records of that institute showed that Galt had been receiving lessons by mail beginning in Montreal on July 17,1967, with the latest lesson having been sent to 113 14th Street, Atlanta.

Local FBI agents descended on those premises on April 16. Learning that Galt still had ground-floor room number 2, they established physical surveillance for twenty-four hours. Author Gerold Frank maintained that when no one appeared, two agents acting under instruction from Cartha DeLooach, the FBI's assistant director in Washington, disguised themselves as hippies and rented a room adjoining No. 2 from James Garner, the landlord.5 The connecting door was padlocked from the other side, so, according to Frank, DeLoach gave instructions to take the door off the hinges to get in (DeLoach has denied this). Thus, they obtained-possibly illegally because no warrant had been issued-a variety of items from the room, including a map of Atlanta with a clear left thumb print. Someone -- apparently J. Edgar Hoover himself-suggested that the available fingerprints be compared against the prints of white men, under fifty, wanted by the police-the fugitive file. There were reportedly fifty-three thousand sets of prints in this category.

On April 17, the Birmingham FBI office sought a federal fugitive warrant for Eric Starvo Galt pursuant to an indictment charging a conspiracy to violate Dr. King's civil rights.

Beginning on the morning of April 18, the FBI specialists undertook the task of fingerprint comparison; by the next morning, the seven hundredth card matched. It belonged to a fugitive from a Missouri penitentiary. His name was James Earl Ray. It was clear: Galt and Ray were the same man.
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