MLK Assassination

Adam Skyles

Basic Info

Who: Martin Luther King Jr., James Earl Ray


What: The assassination of Civil Rights Activist Martin Luther King Jr.


When: April 4, 1968


Where: Memphis, TN at the Lorraine Motel


Why: James Earl Ray was an outspoken racist, but there's no solid evidence as to why he shot Dr. King other than that. Dr. King's family has come out and said that the believe Ray to be innocent, stating that Ray was hired or forced to assassinate Dr. King. Ray has come out and said that he was not even the one who shot King, but rather that he met a man in Canada during his time there who orchestrated and executed his plan to kill King.


How: Reports given said that Ray stood in the bathtub of his hotel room a block away from the Lorraine Motel, where he balanced his rifle on a window ledge and shot Dr. King as he stood on the balcony giving his speech.

"Dr. King Is Assassinated." History.com. A&E Television Networks. Web. 6 May 2015.

Basically what happened was Dr. King was heading to dinner after giving a speech in Memphis, TN at the Lorraine Motel when he was shot in the jaw and had his spinal cord severed. He was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived to a Memphis hospital. The killer, James Earl Ray, dropped his gun on the sidewalk outside the motel he was staying in and fled to Canada with a fake id and passport. On June 8th, the Scotland Yard apprehended him in a London airport. He was sent back to face a Memphis judge, and pleaded guilty in court. A few days later, he tried to withdraw his guilty plea and explain that he had been a patsy in a conspiracy. He was denied, and over the next 29 years he would be denied again and again. During the 1990's, King's family came forth and declared Ray innocent, saying that it was actually the FBI that committed the murder. In 1999, James Earl Ray died in prison. Over the years, the case has been reexamined but nothing new has come up.

"James Earl Ray." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2015. Web. 06 May 2015.

This article is about Dr. Martin Luther King's killer, James Earl Ray. It goes in-depth about his past, giving facts like when he was younger, his little sister caught herself on fire while playing with matches and died. When he was sixteen, he moved in with his grandmother and landed a job in the dye room of the International Shoe Tannery. He got laid off and went into the Army, but was discharged for drunkenness and "an inability to adapt." When he came back to America, he did some time for petty crimes. He tried moving to Canada but couldn't get there so he moved to St. Louis. While there, he held up a few convenience stores and was arrested. He was sentenced 20 years in prison. He somehow managed to escape and ended up in Tennessee. No one knows exactly why he killed Dr. King, but he did, and after a few months, was apprehended in London and given 99 years in prison. He claims that he was a patsy in a conspiracy, and is in fact backed up by King's family. In 1999, he died in prison.
Isabelle and Adam: MLK assassination