Todays post is a bit of a companion piece to last weeks post on the Martin Luther King assassination. I came across a few of Gordon Hall’s research files on James Earl Ray, the man who assassinated Martin Luther King. Ray was convicted of a variety of crimes throughout the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. He escaped prison in 1967 and worked on the George Wallace presidential campaign being a strong supporter of segregation. Ray also underwent facial reconstructive surgery during this time.
On April 4, 1968 King was assassinated and Ray fled to Toronto. Ray was captured at Heathrow Airport in London, was extradited to Tennessee and confessed to the assassination. Shortly after Ray recanted his confession. Until his death in 1998, Ray spent much of his life fighting the conviction (even briefly escaping prison in 1977). He claimed throughout his life that he was not responsible for the assassination and many conspiracy theories have been developed around this fact. For many it remains one of the many mysteries of the 20th century.
It seems that Gordon Hall was following this fairly closely. I have included some images of a few files that Hall kept on Ray and a sample of what is in the files. It is a clipping from the New York Times in 1968 reporting on the status of Ray’s conviction while he was still in London.