April 4 - 1968 - The Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. went to Memphis in 1968 to support striking sanitation workers. As he arrived, he gave a speech where he declared that he might not get to the promised land with his audience, but that he had been to the mountaintop and seen it. The next day he was shot. Certainly, there were a lot of people who wanted to harm Martin Luther King, Jr., but it turned out the actual culprit was an escaped convict from Missouri named James Earl Ray. Ray was a career criminal with an obsession with the Presidential campaign of George Wallace and the nation of Rhodesia. While on the lam from prison, Ray became obsessed with killing Martin Luther King, Jr. James Earl Ray did it in one shot while King was on a balcony at the Lorraine Motel from across the street. Ray ended up fleeing to Canada immediately after the killing, then made his way to London, where he was arrested. After being returned to Tennessee, James Earl Ray pled guilty to killing Martin Luther King, Jr. A few days later, he would recant. Yet the odd story of James Earl Ray shouldn't overshadow the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr.