Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
|Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.|
King in 1964
|Date||April 4, 1968
6:01 p.m. (Central Time)
|Weapons||Remington 760 Gamemaster .30-06|
|Victim||Martin Luther King Jr.|
Martin Luther King Jr. was an American clergyman and civil rights leader who was fatally shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. King was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m. that evening. He was a prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement and Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was known for his use of nonviolence and civil disobedience.
James Earl Ray, a fugitive from the Missouri State Penitentiary, was arrested on June 8, 1968, in London at Heathrow Airport, extradited to the United States, and charged with the crime. On March 10, 1969, Ray entered a plea of guilty and was sentenced to 99 years in the Tennessee State Penitentiary. Ray later made many attempts to withdraw his guilty plea and be tried by a jury, but was unsuccessful; he died in prison on April 23, 1998, at the age of 70.
The King family and others believe that the assassination was carried out by a conspiracy involving the U.S. government, as alleged by Loyd Jowers in 1993, and that Ray was a scapegoat. In 1999 the King family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Jowers for the sum of $10,000,000. During the trial both the family and Jowers presented evidence alleging a government conspiracy. The government agencies accused could not defend themselves or respond because they were not named as defendants. Based on the evidence, the jury concluded that Jowers and "others were part of a conspiracy to kill King." The allegations and the finding of the Memphis jury were later rejected by the United States Department of Justice in 2000.[why?]
- 1 Background
- 2 Assassination
- 3 Responses
- 4 FBI investigation
- 5 Funeral
- 6 Perpetrator
- 7 Conspiracy theories
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
King on death
King received frequent death threats due to his prominence in the Civil Rights Movement. He had confronted the risk of death and made that recognition part of his philosophy. He taught that murder could not stop the struggle for equal rights. After the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1963, King told his wife Coretta, "This is what is going to happen to me also. I keep telling you, this is a sick society.":
King traveled to Memphis, Tennessee, in support of striking African American city sanitation workers. The workers had staged a walkout on February 11, 1968, to protest unequal wages and working conditions imposed by then-mayor Henry Loeb. At the time, Memphis paid black workers significantly lower wages than whites. Several sanitation workers had been killed on the job due to unsafe working conditions. In addition, unlike white workers, black workers received no pay if they stayed home during bad weather; consequently, most black people were compelled to work even in driving rain and snow storms.
On April 3, King returned to Memphis to address a gathering at the Mason Temple (World Headquarters of the Church of God in Christ). His airline flight to Memphis was delayed by a bomb threat against his plane but he made his planned speech. King delivered the last speech of his life, now known as the "I've Been to the Mountaintop" address. As he neared the close, he referred to the bomb threat:
And then I got to Memphis. And some began to say the threats... or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers?
Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it doesn't matter with me now. Because I've been to the mountaintop. [applause] And I don't mind. 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, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land! [applause] And so I'm happy, tonight. I'm not worried about anything. I'm not fearing any man. My eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!
On Thursday, April 4, 1968, King was staying in room 306 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis. The motel was owned by businessman Walter Bailey and named after his wife. Reverend Ralph David Abernathy, a colleague and friend, later told the House Select Committee on Assassinations that he and King had stayed in room 306 at the Lorraine Motel so often that it was known as the "King–Abernathy Suite".
According to biographer Taylor Branch, King's last words were to musician Ben Branch, who was scheduled to perform that night at a planned event. King said, "Ben, make sure you play 'Take My Hand, Precious Lord' in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty."
King had gone out onto the balcony and was standing near his room when he was struck at 6:01 p.m., by a single .30-06 bullet fired from a Remington Model 760. The bullet entered through King's right cheek, breaking his jaw and several vertebrae as it traveled down his spinal cord, severing his jugular vein and major arteries in the process, before lodging in his shoulder. The force of the shot ripped off King's necktie. King fell violently backward onto the balcony, unconscious.
Shortly after the shot was fired, witnesses saw a man (believed to be Ray) fleeing from a rooming house across the street from the Lorraine Motel. Ray had been renting a room there. Police found a package dumped close to the site, which included a rifle and binoculars, both marked with Ray's fingerprints. Ray had purchased the rifle under an alias six days earlier. A worldwide manhunt was triggered, which culminated in the arrest of Ray at London Heathrow Airport two months later.
At the time, Abernathy heard the shot from inside the motel room and ran to the balcony to find King on the deck, bleeding profusely from the wound in his cheek. Andrew Young, a colleague from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), first believed King was dead, but found he still had a pulse.
King was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital, where doctors opened his chest and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation. He never regained consciousness and was pronounced dead at 7:05 p.m. According to Taylor Branch, King's autopsy revealed that his heart was in the condition of a 60-year-old man, which Branch attributed to the stress of King's 13 years in the Civil Rights Movement.
Coretta Scott King
Mrs King had difficulty settling her children with the news that their father was deceased. She received a large number of telegrams, including one from Lee Harvey Oswald's mother, which she regarded as the one that touched her the most.
Within the movement
For some, King's assassination meant the end of the strategy of nonviolence. Others in the movement reaffirmed the need to carry on King's and the movement's work. Leaders within the SCLC confirmed that they would carry on the Poor People's Campaign that year despite his loss. Some black leaders argued the need to continue King's and the movement's tradition of nonviolence.
Robert F. Kennedy speech
That night New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy, running to gain the presidential nomination to represent the Democratic Party, spoke about the assassination. Kennedy had spoken earlier that day in Indiana and learned about the shooting before boarding a plane to Indianapolis. He had a last speech scheduled there, in a predominantly black neighborhood of the city. His press secretary Frank Mankiewicz suggested that he ask the audience to pray for the King family and to follow King's practice of nonviolence. The men did not learn that King had died until they landed in Indianapolis.
Mankiewicz and speechwriter Adam Walinsky drafted notes for Kennedy's use, but he refused them, using some he likely had written during the ride to the site. The Chief of Police in Indianapolis advised Kennedy that he could not provide protection and was worried he would be at risk in talking about the death of the revered leader. Kennedy decided to go ahead. Standing on a flatbed truck, Kennedy spoke for four minutes and fifty-seven seconds.
He was the first to tell the audience that King had died; some of the attendees screamed and wailed in grief. Several of Kennedy's aides were even worried that the delivery of this information would result in a riot. When the audience quieted, Kennedy acknowledged that many would be filled with anger. He said: "For those of you who are black and are tempted to fill with—be filled with hatred and mistrust of the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man." These remarks surprised his aides, who had never heard him speak publicly of his brother John F. Kennedy's death. Kennedy said that the country had to make an effort to "go beyond these rather difficult times", and quoted a poem by the Greek playwright Aeschylus, "Even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God." In conclusion, Kennedy said that the country needed and wanted unity between blacks and whites, and asked the audience members to pray for the King family and the country, quoting the Greeks again.
His speech was credited in part with preventing post-assassination rioting in Indianapolis, on a night where such events broke out in major cities across the country. It is widely considered one of the greatest speeches in American history.
Kennedy subsequently canceled all of his scheduled campaign appearances and withdrew to his hotel room. Several phone conversations with black community leaders convinced him to speak out against the violent backlash beginning to emerge across the country. The next day, Kennedy gave a prepared response, "On the Mindless Menace of Violence", in Cleveland, Ohio. Though still considered significant, it is given much less historical attention than the Indianapolis speech.
President Lyndon B. Johnson
President Lyndon B. Johnson was in the Oval Office that evening, planning a meeting in Hawaii with Vietnam War military commanders. After press secretary George Christian informed him at 8:20 p.m. of the assassination, he canceled the trip to focus on the nation. He assigned Attorney General Ramsey Clark to investigate the assassination in Memphis. He made a personal call to King's wife, Coretta Scott King, and declared April 7 a national day of mourning, on which the U.S. flag would be flown at half-staff.
Colleagues of King in the Civil Rights Movement called for a nonviolent response to the assassination, to honor his most deeply held beliefs. James Farmer Jr. said:
Dr. King would be greatly distressed to find that his blood had triggered off bloodshed and disorder... I think instead the nation should be quiet; black and white, and we should be in a prayerful mood, which would be in keeping with his life. We should make that kind of dedication and commitment to the goals which his life served to solving the domestic problems. That's the memorial, that's the kind of memorial we should build for him. It's just not appropriate for there to be violent retaliations, and that kind of demonstration in the wake of the murder of this pacifist and man of peace.
However, the more militant Stokely Carmichael called for forceful action, saying:
White America killed Dr. King last night. She made it a whole lot easier for a whole lot of black people today. There no longer needs to be intellectual discussions, black people know that they have to get guns. White America will live to cry that she killed Dr. King last night. It would have been better if she had killed Rap Brown and/or Stokely Carmichael, but when she killed Dr. King, she lost.
Despite the urging for calm by many leaders, a nationwide wave of riots erupted in more than 100 cities. After the assassination, the city of Memphis quickly settled the strike on favorable terms to the sanitation workers.
On April 8, King's widow, Coretta Scott King, together with the couple's four small children, led a crowd estimated at 40,000 "in a silent march through the streets of Memphis to honor the fallen leader and support the cause of the city's black sanitation workers".
The next day, funeral rites for King were held in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. The service at Ebenezer Baptist Church was nationally televised, as were these other events. A funeral procession transported King's body for 3.5 miles through the streets of Atlanta, followed by more than 100,000 mourners, from the church to his alma mater of Morehouse College. A second service was held there before the burial.
In the wake of King's assassination, journalists reported some callous or hostile reactions from parts of white America, particularly in the South. David Halberstam, who reported on King's funeral, recounted a comment heard at an affluent white dinner party:
One of the wives—station wagon, three children, forty-five-thousand-dollar house—leaned over and said, "I wish you had spit in his face for me." It was a stunning moment; I wondered for a long time afterwards what King could possibly have done to her, in what conceivable way he could have threatened her, why this passionate hate.
But reporters also recounted that many whites were grief-stricken at the leader's death. In some cases, the shock of events altered opinions. A survey later sent to a group of college trustees revealed that their opinions of King had risen after his assassination. The New York Times praised King in an editorial, calling his murder a "national disaster" and his cause "just".
Public figures generally praised King in the days following his death. Others expressed political ideology. Governor George Wallace of Alabama, known as a segregationist, described the assassination as a "senseless, regrettable act". But Governor Lester Maddox of Georgia called King "an enemy of our country" and threatened to "personally raise" the state capitol flag back from half-staff. California Governor Ronald Reagan described the assassination as "a great tragedy that began when we began compromising with law and order and people started choosing which laws they'd break". Strom Thurmond, South Carolina Senator, wrote to his constituents: "We are now witnessing the whirlwind sowed years ago when some preachers and teachers began telling people that each man could be his own judge in his own case."
The Federal Bureau of Investigation was assigned the lead to investigate King's death. J. Edgar Hoover, who had previously made efforts to undermine King's reputation, told Johnson that his agency would attempt to find the culprit(s). Many documents related to this investigation remain classified, and are slated to remain secret until 2027. In 2010, as in earlier years, some argued for passage of a proposed Records Collection Act, similar to a 1992 law concerning the Kennedy assassination, in order to require the immediate release of the records. The measure did not pass.
President Lyndon B. Johnson declared April 7 a national day of mourning for Rev. King. A crowd of 300,000 attended his funeral two days later on April 9. Vice President Hubert Humphrey attended on behalf of Johnson, who was at a meeting on the Vietnam War at Camp David. (There were fears that Johnson might be hit with protests and abuses over the war if he attended). At his widow's request, King's last sermon at Ebenezer Baptist Church was played at the funeral; it was a recording of his "Drum Major" sermon, given on February 4, 1968. In that sermon, he asked that at his funeral no mention of his awards and honors be made, but that it be said that he tried to "feed the hungry", "clothe the naked", "be right on the [Vietnam] war question", and "love and serve humanity".
Capture and guilty plea
The FBI investigation found fingerprints on various objects left in the bathroom from where the gunfire had come. Evidence included a Remington Gamemaster rifle from which at least one shot had been fired. The fingerprints were traced to an escaped white convict named James Earl Ray. Two months after King's death, Ray was captured at London's Heathrow Airport while trying to leave the United Kingdom for either Angola, Rhodesia or South Africa on a false Canadian passport in the name of Ramon George Sneyd. Ray was quickly extradited to Tennessee and charged with King's murder.
He confessed to the assassination on March 10, 1969. On the advice of his attorney Percy Foreman, Ray took a guilty plea to avoid a trial conviction and potential sentencing under the death penalty. Ray was sentenced to a 99-year prison term; he recanted his confession three days later.
Ray fired Foreman as his attorney and claimed that a man he met in Montreal with the alias "Raul" was involved, as was Ray's brother Johnny, but that he was not. He said through his new attorney Jack Kershaw that although he did not "personally shoot King", he may have been "partially responsible without knowing it", hinting at a conspiracy. In May 1977, Kershaw presented evidence to the House Select Committee on Assassinations that he believed exonerated his client, but tests did not prove conclusive. Kershaw also claimed Ray was somewhere else when the shots were fired, but he could not find a witness to corroborate the claim.
Ray and seven other convicts escaped from Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary in Petros, Tennessee, on June 10, 1977. They were recaptured on June 13, three days later, and returned to prison. A year was added to Ray's sentence, totaling it to 100 years.
Ray worked for the remainder of his life attempting (unsuccessfully) to withdraw his guilty plea and secure a full trial. In 1997, Martin Luther King's son Dexter King met with Ray; he publicly supported Ray's efforts to obtain a retrial.
William Francis Pepper remained James Earl Ray's attorney until Ray's death. He carried on the effort to gain a trial on behalf of the King family. The King family does not believe that Ray was responsible, but that there was a conspiracy by elements of the government against King.
Ray died in prison on April 23, 1998, at the age of 70 from kidney and liver failure, caused by hepatitis C (probably contracted as a result of a blood transfusion given after a stabbing while at Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary).
In December 1993, Loyd Jowers, a white man from Memphis, appeared on ABC's Prime Time Live. He had gained attention by claiming an alleged conspiracy involving the Mafia, the U.S. government, and himself to kill King. According to Jowers, Ray was a scapegoat, and not directly involved in the shooting.
According to the Department of Justice, Jowers had inconsistently identified different people as King's assassin since 1993. He had alternatively claimed that the shooter was: (1) an African American man who was on South Main Street on the night of the assassination (the "Man on South Main Street"); (2) Raul; (3) a white "Lieutenant" with the Memphis Police Department; and (4) a person whom he did not recognize. The Department does not consider Jowers' accusations credible, and refers to two of the accused individuals by pseudonym.[note 1] DOJ has stated the evidence allegedly supporting the existence of a third assassin, "Raoul", is dubious. Loyd had business interests in the vicinity of the assassination site.
Coretta Scott King v. Loyd Jowers
In 1999, the King family filed a civil case against Jowers and unnamed co-conspirators for the wrongful death of King. The case, Coretta Scott King, et al. vs. Loyd Jowers et al., Case No. 97242, was tried in the circuit court of Shelby County, Tennessee, from November 15 to December 8, 1999.
Attorney William Francis Pepper, representing the King family, presented evidence from 70 witnesses and 4,000 pages of transcripts. Pepper alleges in his book, An Act of State (2003), that the evidence implicated the FBI, the CIA, the US Army, the Memphis Police Department, and organized crime in the murder of King. The suit alleged government involvement; however, no government officials or agencies were named or made a party to the suit, so there was no defense or evidence presented or refuted by the government. The jury found defendant Loyd Jowers and unknown co-defendants civilly liable for participation in a conspiracy to assassinate King in the amount of $100. Members of King's family acted as plaintiffs.
The court: In answer to the question did Loyd Jowers participate in a 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).
After hearing no evidence from the government, and only testimony and pleadings cooperatively submitted by the plaintiffs and Jowers, the jury—six blacks and six whites—found that King had been the victim of assassination by a conspiracy involving the Memphis police as well as federal agencies. Local assistant district attorney John Campell, who was not involved in the case, commented that the case was flawed and "overlooked so much contradictory evidence that never was presented" This civil verdict against Jowers has been claimed by some persons to have established Ray's criminal innocence, which the King family has always maintained, but it has no bearing on his having pleaded guilty. The family said it had requested only $100 in damages to demonstrate they were not seeking financial gain.
In 2000, the Department of Justice completed their own investigation into Jowers' claims; it did not find evidence to support the allegations about conspiracy. The investigation report recommends no further investigation unless some new reliable facts are presented. A sister of Jowers admitted that he had fabricated the story so he could make $300,000 from selling the story, and she said she had corroborated his story in order to get some money to pay her income tax. King biographer David Garrow disagrees with William F. Pepper's claims that the government killed King. He is supported by author Gerald Posner.
In 1998, CBS reported that the two separate ballistic tests conducted on the Remington Gamemaster allegedly used by Ray in the assassination were inconclusive. Moreover, witnesses with King at the moment of the shooting say the shot was fired from a different location; from behind thick shrubbery near the rooming house, and not from a window of the rooming house.
King's friend and SCLC organizer, Reverend James Lawson, has suggested the impending occupation of Washington D.C. by the Poor People's Campaign was a primary motive for a federal assassination. Lawson also noted during the civil trial that King alienated President Johnson and other powerful government actors when he repudiated the Vietnam War on April 4, 1967—exactly one year before the assassination.
King had been targeted by COINTELPRO and had also been under surveillance by military intelligence agencies during the period leading up to his assassination under the code name Operation Lantern Spike.
A church minister, Ronald Denton Wilson, claimed his father, Henry Clay Wilson, assassinated Martin Luther King Jr., not James Earl Ray. He stated, "It wasn't a racist thing; he thought Martin Luther King was connected with communism, and he wanted to get him out of the way." But Wilson had reportedly admitted previously that his father was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.
In 2004, Jesse Jackson, who was with King when he was assassinated, noted:
The fact is there were saboteurs to disrupt the march. [And] within our own organization, we found a very key person who was on the government payroll. So infiltration within, saboteurs from without and the press attacks. ...I will never believe that James Earl Ray had the motive, the money and the mobility to have done it himself. Our government was very involved in setting the stage for and I think the escape route for James Earl Ray.
- Because [The Department of Justice] does not credit Jowers' inconsistent allegations, we refer to the two assassins he has named as the "Man on South Main Street" and the "Lieutenant", respectively.
- Pepper 2003, p. 8.
- Pepper 2003, p. 97.
- Douglass, Jim (Spring 2000). "The Martin Luther King Conspiracy Exposed in Memphis". Probe Magazine. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
- Yellin, Emily (December 9, 1999). "Memphis Jury Sees Conspiracy in Martin Luther King's Killing". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved June 8, 2013.
- Dyson, Michael Eric (2008). "Fighting Death". April 4, 1968: Martin Luther King Jr.'s death and how it changed America (1st ed.). New York City: Basic Civitas Books. ISBN 978-0465002122.
- (via Google News) "King had predicted he too would be killed". The Washington Afro American. Washington, D.C.: Baltimore Afro-American. September 9, 1969. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
- "1,300 Members Participate in Memphis Garbage Strike". AFSCME. Washington, D.C.: AFL–CIO. February 1, 1968. Archived from the original on December 6, 2006. Retrieved December 23, 2006.
- "Memphis Strikers Stand Firm". AFSCME. Washington, D.C.: AFL–CIO. March 1, 1968. Archived from the original on December 6, 2006. Retrieved December 23, 2006.
- Rugaber, Walter (March 29, 1968). "A Negro is Killed in Memphis". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved December 23, 2006.
- Time Magazine Staff (April 4, 2013). "TIME Looks Back: The Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.". Time. United States: Time Inc. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
- Norman, Tony (April 4, 2008). "The last sermon, Memphis, April 3, 1968". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Pittsburgh: Block Communications. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
- Rosenberg, Jennifer. "Martin Luther King Jr. Assassinated". 20th Century History. About.com. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
- "I've Been to the Mountaintop" Archived February 16, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- "United States Department of Justice Investigation of Recent Allegations Regarding the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr - VII. KING V. JOWERS CONSPIRACY ALLEGATIONS". United States Department of Justice. June 2000. Archived from the original on July 15, 2007. Retrieved July 21, 2007.
- Branch 2007, p. 766.
- Gribben, Mark. "James Earl Ray: The Man Who Killed Dr. Martin Luther King". truetv.com. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- Martin Luther King, Jr: Assassination Conspiracy theories
- "Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.". Christian History Institute. March 2007. Archived from the original on November 2, 2007. Retrieved July 21, 2007.
- "Interview with Andrew Young". PBS. Retrieved February 4, 2013.
- "Citizen King'". American Experience. PBS. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
- Clarke 2007, p. 124.
- Schumach, Murray (April 5, 1968). "Martin Luther King Jr.: Leader of Millions in Nonviolent Drive for Racial Justice". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved October 19, 2016.
- "Aide to Dr. King Asserts March Of Poor in Capital Will Be Held". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. April 5, 1968.
- Van Gelder, Lawrence (April 5, 1968). "Negroes Urge Others to Carry on Spirit of Nonviolence". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
- Klein 2006, p. 2.
- Klein 2006, p. 3.
- Klein & 2007 3–4.
- Scarborough Country Archived October 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
- Klein 2006, pp. 1, 4.
- Klein, Joe (April 9, 2006). "Pssst! Who's behind the decline of politics? Consultants". Time. United States: Time Inc. Retrieved November 17, 2007.
- Klein 2007, p. 6.
- Statement of Mayor Bart Peterson Archived November 14, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. April 4, 2006, press release
- "Top 100 American Speeches of the 20th Century". Retrieved August 30, 2009.
- Newfield 1988, p. 248.
- Duffy & Leeman 2005, p. 245.
- Kotz 2006, p. 415.
- "1968 Year In Review, UPI.com"
- "1968: Martin Luther King shot dead". On This Day. BBC News. 2006. Retrieved September 17, 2006.
- "AFSCME Wins in Memphis". AFSCME. Washington, D.C.: AFL–CIO. April 1, 1968. Archived from the original on December 6, 2006. Retrieved December 23, 2006.
- "1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers' Strike Chronology". AFSCME. Washington, D.C.: AFL–CIO. 1968. Archived from the original on December 6, 2006. Retrieved December 23, 2006.
- "Dr. King's Assassination: Background", Civil Rights Digital Library, Digital Library of Georgia, 2013
- "'The Need of All Humanity'". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. 5 April 1968.
- Catalyst (November 8, 2005). "White America's reaction to the shooting of MLK?". Straight Dope. Retrieved July 20, 2012.
- Perlstein 2009, p. 257.
- Polk, James (December 29, 2008). "The case against James Earl Ray". CNN. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System(Time Warner). Retrieved July 12, 2014.
- Clarke, James W. (2007). Defining Danger: American Assassins and the New Domestic Terrorists. Piscataway, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. ISBN 978-0765803412.
- Borrell 1968, p. 2.
- Jerome, Richard (May 11, 1998). "Dead Silence". People. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
- Martin, Douglas (September 24, 2010). "Jack Kershaw Is Dead at 96; Challenged Conviction in King's Death". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved September 25, 2010.
- FIELD OFFICE ESTABLISHED Archived May 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Knoxville Field Office, FBI.
- "James Earl Ray, convicted King assassin, dies". CNN. Atlanta: Turner Broadcasting System(Time Warner). April 23, 1998. Archived from the original on October 29, 2006. Retrieved September 17, 2006.
- KING FAMILY STATEMENT ON THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT "LIMITED INVESTIGATION" OF THE MLK ASSASSINATION The King Center
- "United States Department of Justice Investigation of Recent Allegations Regarding the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr". June 2000. Civil Rights Division.
- Pepper, William F. (2003). An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King. Brooklyn: Verso Books. ISBN 978-1859846957.
- "Civil Case: King Family versus Jowers" (Partial Transcripts of Trial), hosted by The King Center, Atlanta, Georgia. Accessed 20 January 2014
- "Trial Transcript Volume XIV". verdict. The King Center. 2006. Archived from the original on March 17, 2007. Retrieved March 24, 2007.
- Kevin Sack and Emily Yellin (December 10, 1999). "Dr. King's Slaying Finally Draws A Jury Verdict, but to Little Effect". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company.
- Pepper, Bill (April 7, 2002). "William F. Pepper on the MLK Conspiracy Trial" (PDF). Rat Haus Reality Press. Archived (PDF) from the original on September 21, 2006. Retrieved September 17, 2006.
- "USDOJ Investigation of Recent Allegations Regarding the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.". Conclusion and Recommendation. USDOJ. June 2000. Retrieved February 16, 2013.
- "Washingtonpost.com: Martin Luther King Jr.: The Legacy". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: Nash Holdings LLC. January 30, 1999.
- "Loyd Jowers, 73, Who Claimed A Role in the Killing of Dr. King". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. May 23, 2000.
- Ayton, Mel (February 28, 2005). "Book review A Racial Crime: The Assassination of MLK". History News Network. Retrieved September 18, 2006.
- "James Earl Ray Dead At 70". CBS. April 23, 1998. Archived from the original on December 12, 2006. Retrieved December 23, 2006.
- "Questions left hanging by James Earl Ray's death". BBC News. April 23, 1998. Retrieved December 23, 2006.
- "Martin Luther King - Sniper in the Shrubbery?". africanaonline.com. 2006. Archived from the original on June 6, 2009. Retrieved December 23, 2006.
- Allan M. Jalon (March 8, 2006). "A break-in to end all break-ins". Los Angeles Times.
- United States Congress 2002, p. 15235.
- Canedy, Dana (April 6, 2002). "A Minister Says His Father, Now Dead, Killed Dr. King". The New York Times. New York City: The New York Times Company. Retrieved December 29, 2008.
- Canedy, Dana (April 6, 2002). "My father killed King, says pastor, 34 years on". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved September 18, 2006.
- Goodman, Amy; Gonzalez, Juan (January 15, 2004). "Jesse Jackson On 'Mad Dean Disease,' the 2000 Elections and Martin Luther King". Democracy Now!. Archived from the original on September 17, 2006. Retrieved September 18, 2006.
- Branch 2007, p. 770.
- Pepper, William F. (2003). An Act of State: The Execution of Martin Luther King. Brooklyn: Verso Books. pp. 8, 97. ISBN 978-1859846957.
- Clarke, James W. (2007). Defining Danger: American Assassins and the New Domestic Terrorists. Piscataway, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. p. 124. ISBN 978-0765803412.
- Branch, Taylor (2007). At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-68. America in the King Years (Reprint ed.). New York City: Simon & Schuster. pp. 766, 770. ISBN 978-0684857138.
- Klein, Joe (2006). Politics Lost: How American Democracy was Trivialized by People Who Think You're Stupid (Large Print ed.). New York City: Random House. pp. 1–4, 6.
- Newfield, Jack (1988). Robert Kennedy: A Memoir (3rd ed.). New York City: Plume. p. 248. ISBN 978-0452260641.
- Duffy, Bernard K.; Leeman, Richard W. (2005). American Voices: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Orators. Santa Barbara, California: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 245. ISBN 978-0313327902.
- Kotz, Nick (2006). "14. Another Martyr". Judgment Days : Lyndon Baines Johnson, Martin Luther King Jr., and the Laws That Changed America (Reprint ed.). Boston: Mariner Books. p. 415. ISBN 978-0618641833.
- Perlstein, Rick (2009). Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America (Reprint ed.). Scribner. p. 257. ISBN 978-0743243032.
- Borrell, Clive (June 28, 1968). "Ramon Sneyd denies that he killed Dr King". The Times. London. p. 2. Retrieved January 13, 2009.
- United States Congress (2002). Congressional Record Vol. 148 Part 11: Proceedings and Debates of the 107th Congress Second Session. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 15235. ISBN 978-0113225491.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr..|
- "Civil Case: King Family v. Jowers" (Partial Transcripts of 1998 Trial), hosted by The King Center, Atlanta, Georgia.
- Department of Justice investigation of assassination, 2000 (following the Jowers' allegations)
- Congressional Report on King's assassination
- Shelby County Register of Deeds documents, Assassination Investigation]
- Donald E. Wilkes Jr, "Death of MLK Still a Mystery" (1987), University of Georgia Law School.
- Donald E. Wilkes Jr, "What Are Facts of MLK Murder?" (1987).
- Dr. King's Assassination, Civil Rights Digital Library.