Who killed Martin Luther King, when was James Earl Ray's death and why did he shoot the civil rights leader in Memphis?
CIVIL rights activist and leader Martin Luther King was tragically assassinated by James Earl Ray on April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee.
Ray was convicted of his murder and spent his life in prison before he died in 1998.
Who killed Martin Luther King?
James Earl Ray killed Martin Luther King Jr. on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee.
Ray was born into a poor family on March 10, 1928, in Alton Illinois.
He left school when he was 15 and later joined the US Army towards the end of World War II but he struggled to adapt to military life.
He received a 99-year prison term for murdering Martin Luther King Jr.
When did James Earl Ray die?
Before he died Ray was transferred to Lois M. DeBerry Special Needs Facility in Nashville, which is a maximum-security prison with hospital facilities.
He died on April 23, 1998. He was 70 years old at the time of his death.
Ray died at the Columbia Nashville Memorial Hospital from complications related to kidney disease and liver failure which was caused by hepatitis C.
His body was cremated and flown to Ireland, where his mother’s ancestors were from.
Ray pleaded guilty to killing King and had he contested the charge and been found guilty via a jury it is likely he would have been sentenced to death.
Why did he shoot the civil rights leader in Memphis?
There was no specific reason or motive as to why Ray killed Martin Luther King Jr.
But we do know he was a racist and he had a criminal record before the killing.
Some people have even suggested he killed Luther King just to gain a name for himself.
What’s happening this Monday, January 18, 2021?
The US will celebrate the life of Martin Luther King Jr on Monday, January 18, remembering all of the tremendous strides the activist-led in promoting civil liberties for all Americans.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan signed the holiday into law, and it was first recognized three years later.
Some states resisted the holiday, attempting to co-opt its meaning by combining it with other holidays.
It was finally observed in all 50 states as a federal holiday in 2000.
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