“After hearing and reviewing the extensive testimony and evidence, which had never before been tested under oath in a court of law, it took the Memphis jury only one (1) hour to find that a conspiracy to kill Dr. King did exist. Most significantly, this conspiracy involved agents of the governments of the City of Memphis, the state of Tennessee and the United States of America. The overwhelming weight of the evidence also indicated that James Earl Ray was not the triggerman and, in fact, was an unknowing patsy… We stand by that verdict and have no doubt that the truth about this terrible event has finally been revealed.” -Statement of King Family on the Justice Department’s “Limited investigation” of the MLK Assassination, January 15, 2007
The assassination of Dr. King was one of the most devastating assaults on democracy and the rule of law in our nation’s sordid history. It came in an environment of FBI COINTELPRO harassment and surveillance of opposition leaders. It came as one incident in a string of assassinations which included Black Panther leaders, Malcolm X, John F. Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy. The telltale signs of government cover-up followed each of these events.
The Vietnam Speech
Prior to Dr. King’s assassination, several radical changes had happened. Dr. King had become one of the most articulate, credible, and outspoken critics of the Vietnam War in the US. He had expanded his view beyond African American issues, and had confronted American imperialism head on. This provided a clear motive for those opposed to peace and justice to want Dr. King silenced.
“‘A time comes when silence is betrayal.’ That time has come for us in relation to Vietnam.” -Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., April 4, 1967, “Beyond Vietnam”