On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, african-american reverend, pacifist and activist in the struggle for human direitios, was assassinated by James Earl Ray in Memphis (Tennessee-USA). Martin Luther King. Their civil rights and their participation in peaceful demonstrations sparked awareness of the country for participation in the establishment of a more just society. Its action earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. In recent years, Luther King was under wiretapping, by the FBI, and was also controlled by the military secret services for participating in demonstrations against the Vietnam War in 1967. Moreover, while advocating radical economic reforms in 1968 even a minimum annual subsidy to all Luther King created enemies in Washington.
On April 4, 1968, Luther King was in Memphis to support a strike by workers of health services and was having dinner when a bullet hit him in the chin and stuck to spinal medulal. Was pronounced dead on arrival at the local hospital. He was 39 years. In previous months, Luther King was increasingly worried about economic inequality in the United States and organized the Poor People's Campaign. In March 1968, was the Memphis support the strike of workers of health services, mostly african Americans. On 28 March a workers' protest march, led by Luther King, ended in violence, with the death of a african-american teenager. King left the city, but promised to return in early April to head another manifestation. On April 3, he returned to Memphis. answer what would be his last sermon: "We had some difficulties, a few days ago But nothing matters to me now, because I was on the mountain ... And He allowed me to climb the mountain I looked around and saw the earth.. promised. I will not go there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people. We will get to the promised land. "
The next day, King was assassinated by a sniper. As soon as the news spread, people took to the streets in cities across the country. The National Guard was moved to Memphis and Washington. On 9 April, King was buried in his hometown of Atlanta (Georgia, USA). Tens of thousands of people lined the streets to see past the coffin placed on a simple rural wagon, to provide you with the ultimate tribute. On the night of the murder, a shotgun was found in a boarding house one block from the Lorraine Motel. In the following months of investigation, the gun and the eyewitness accounts pointed to a single suspect: James Earl Ray.
Common criminal, Ray had escaped from a prison in Missouri in April 1967, where he was serving a sentence for assault. In May 1968, he began an intense hunt for Ray. Finally, the FBI found that he had obtained a false passport. On 8 June, the Scotland Yard arrested Ray at London Airport. Tried to fly to Belgium in order to get to Rhodesia. At the time, Rhodesia had a white minority government, oppressor and internationally condemned. Extradited to the US, pleaded guilty before a judge in Memphis in March 1969, to avoid the electric chair. He was sentenced to 99 years in prison. Three days later, tried to withdraw his plea, claiming his innocence.
He claimed to have fallen into a conspiracy, saying that in 1967, a mysterious man named "Raoul" recruited to work in arms trafficking company. The day of the murder, he realized it would be the scapegoat of King's death, solving escape. Over the years, the crime was reviewed several times, but always came to the same conclusion: James Earl Ray killed Martin Luther King. A committee appointed by Congress recognized that it could have been a conspiracy, but there was no evidence to support this thesis. Ray had a reason to assassinate King: your racial hatred.
By António José André.
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