Unresolved: MLK's assassination & Canada's Role

Unresolved: MLK's assassination & Canada's Role

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In November 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his Massey Lectures, titled "Conscience for Change". The Massey Lectures are an annual week long broadcast series in which a noted scholar gives a series of lectures on political, cultural or philosophical topics.

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On April 4, 1968, while standing on the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, King was struck by a single .30 -06 bullet fired from a Remington Model 760 rifle. Witnesses saw a man, later identified as James Earl Ray, fleeing from a rooming house across the street from the Lorraine Motel. He fled in a 1966 Ford Mustang and headed to Detroit where he crossed the border into Windsor, Ontario and took a train to Union Station in Toronto.

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After leaving Union Station, Ray walked for almost an hour until he found room in a boarding house located at 102 Ossington St. [now a jewellery store].


To not arouse suspicion from the landlady, Ray rented a second room, around the corner from the boarding house, where he spent 12 hours every day. This house was located at 955 Dundas St. West.

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After acquiring a false birth certificate and Canadian passport, Ray bought a ticket to London, England on April 16, 1968. He later boarded a flight to London on May 6, 1968.

The plan was to fly to Europe and finally Africa, where he felt he could earn a living as a mercenary.
— Toronto Star

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On June 8, 1968 Ray was arrested at Heathrow Airport attempting to fly to Belgium. He confessed on March 10, 1969.

Case resolved

James Earl Ray recanted his confession 3 days later and insisted he plead guilty to the murder under duress. In 1997, The King family began an investigation into the trial, urging for Ray to be granted a retrial. He died in prison in April 1998 from kidney and liver failure. In 1999, the King family filed and won a civil case in the wrongful death of Martin Luther King Jr. Many, including The King family and civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson who was with Martin Luther King at the Lorraine motel, believe James Earl Ray was a pawn in a larger conspiracy. Further investigations into MLK's assassination have since gone dormant.


The fact is there were saboteurs to disrupt the march. [And] within our own organization, we found a very key person who was on the government payroll ... I will never believe that James Earl Ray had the motive, the money and the mobility to have done it himself. Our government was very involved in setting the stage for and I think the escape route for James Earl Ray.
— Reverend Jesse Jackson [Baptist Minister, Civil Rights Activist, Politician, Friend to Martin Luther King Jr.]
There is no way a ten-cent white boy could develop a plan to kill a million-dollar black man.
— James Bevel [Minister, Civil Rights Activist, Friend to Martin Luther King Jr.]

Stay Woke



Words by Idris Lawal, Edits by Nadine Lamanna, Pictures by Ryan Pimenta.

Sources: CBCToronto StarMyseumTorontoWikipedia.

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