A half century ago today Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot dead in Memphis, Tennessee. This remains one of the saddest events in our history. This will not be a long post other than remembering this event that ended the life of this great man. I have only two observations.
One is that in yesterday’s Washington Post there was a long article about how King’s family believe he was not shot by James Earl Ray and that it was ultimately a plot by J. Edgar Hoover that did him in. I had long dismissed these arguments, but the article contained a lot of information about the many loose ends and problems with the assassination. Whereas I have gone from believing some of the conspiracy theories about the JFK assassination to accepting that it was almost certainly done by Lee Harvey Oswald alone, this article has sown serious doubts in my mind about the MLK assassination. They are doubts as there is no clear resolution of this, and I fear we shall not be able to determine the truth of this with so many principals in the matter no longer among the living.
The other is to remember that King was concerned with issues of economic justice as well as of racial justice and a peaceful foreign policy. He was supporting a strike by workers in Memphis when he was assassinated. So this anniversary is a matter of more concern for this blog than the assassinations of some other famous people of the past. Let us remember this and honor his struggles in all their aspects on this sad anniversary.