Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin by Hampton SidesOn April 23, 1967, Prisoner #416J, an inmate at the notorious Missouri State Penitentiary, escaped in a breadbox. Fashioning himself Eric Galt, this nondescript thief and con man—whose real name was James Earl Ray—drifted through the South, into Mexico, and then Los Angeles, where he was galvanized by George Wallace’s racist presidential campaign.
On February 1, 1968, two Memphis garbage men were crushed to death in their hydraulic truck, provoking the exclusively African American workforce to go on strike. Hoping to resuscitate his faltering crusade, King joined the sanitation workers’ cause, but their march down Beale Street, the historic avenue of the blues, turned violent. Humiliated, King fatefully vowed to return to Memphis in April.
With relentless storytelling drive, Sides follows Galt and King as they crisscross the country, one stalking the other, until the crushing moment at the Lorraine Motel when the drifter catches up with his prey. Against the backdrop of the resulting nationwide riots and the pathos of King’s funeral, Sides gives us a riveting cross-cut narrative of the assassin’s flight and the sixty-five-day search that led investigators to Canada, Portugal, and England—a massive manhunt ironically led by Hoover’s FBI.
What you need to know about the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
Martin Luther King Jr. He was rushed to St. He was a prominent leader of the Civil Rights Movement and a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who was known for his use of nonviolence and civil disobedience. On March 10, , he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 99 years in the Tennessee State Penitentiary. The King family and others believe the assassination was the result of a conspiracy involving the U. They believe that Ray was a scapegoat. The government agencies accused could not defend themselves or respond because they were not named as defendants.
By Hasan Kwame Jeffries. When he saw Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A fraction of a second later, a single. At pm, doctors at St. King dead.
Martin Luther King, Jr. A Baptist minister and founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference SCLC , King had led the civil rights movement since the mids, using a combination of impassioned speeches and nonviolent protests to fight segregation and achieve significant civil-rights advances for African Americans. His assassination led to an outpouring of anger among black Americans, as well as a period of national mourning that helped speed the way for an equal housing bill that would be the last significant legislative achievement of the civil rights era. In the last years of his life, King faced mounting criticism from young African-American activists who favored a more confrontational approach to seeking change. As a result of this opposition, King sought to widen his appeal beyond his own race, speaking out publicly against the Vietnam War and working to form a coalition of poor Americans—black and white alike—to address such issues as poverty and unemployment.
Civil rights icons remember MLK 50 years later
The news of April 4, , was like a body blow to Senator Robert Kennedy. Lindsay, a Newsweek reporter traveling with the Democratic presidential candidate. It kindled memories of one of the worst days of his life, November 22, , when J. Edgar Hoover coldly told him that his brother, President John F. Kennedy, had been shot and killed in Dallas.
Just after 6 p. King was pronounced dead after his arrival at a Memphis hospital. He was 39 years old. In the months before his assassination, Martin Luther King became increasingly concerned with the problem of economic inequality in America. King left the city but vowed to return in early April to lead another demonstration. I may not get there with you.
The hypnotist called himself the Rev. Von Koss was one of the many gurus offering enlightenment to Southern Californians as the Southland was being torn apart and reknitted by the racial, political and spiritual upheaval of the s. His mind moved far away from what I was saying to him. In time the world would know Ray as a small-time crook and racist and mistakenly associated him with the South, where he picked up a fake identity. He was from the Midwest. Back then, far-right activism was on the rise too. Ray fit right in.