Photographer's Note


Yesterday, I wrote that the only relative of mine in Memphis who agreed to accompany to downtown on Sunday July 2nd was my 13-year-old little nephew.

We made to the site where MLK has been assassinated 38 years ago but were in bad lucks: Lorraine Motel was in backlight condition for photography, and no attendant of National Civil Rights Museum available for help.

Even though my little guide confirmed the fateful Room 306, he could not identify which one of the two white rusty cars belongs to Dr. King. Posted them here, I am asking you to give me some info on the relationship of the 2 vehicles parked in front of 'Room 306': the '59 Dodge Royal on left with massive, olive-green tail fins, with license plate 'EX-8074' and the '68 Cadillac on right, with license plate 'II-1598'.

On 4-3-1968 MLK traveled to Memphis to again lend his support to sanitation workers, who had been on strike since Feb 12.

King was the recent recipient of the ’64 Nobel Peace Prize. In early 1963 King led a march in Birmingham that resulted in widespread arrests of marchers over a month-long period. In 1965 first US combat troops set foot to Vietnam (after N Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked the US Destroyer Maddox in the Gulf of Tonkin, resulting in a Congressional resolution allowing President Johnson to provide military assistance to Vietnam) followed by a second attack by N Vietnam on Aug. 4, resulting in US bombing of N Vietnam. By early 1967 America was a nation divided on the war, with widespread resistance to the draft. Children from affluent families (like Bill Clinton) frequently avoided the draft, but the poor were in the frontline, and no one was poorer or more disenfranchised than black youths. It was when MLK’s speeches were affecting black troop morale in Vietnam. He had announced he would lead a massive march on Washington the following spring and speculation went on as the apostle of non-violence would ask the black soldiers in Vietnam to lay down their arms.

On 04-23-1967, James Earl Ray climbed into the bread box and successfully escaped from ‘Jefferson City’ Missouri State Prison. Same day when King arrived to Memphis, Ray also came to town with his 30.06-rifle. The next day, Martin Luther King Jr. had just a few hours to live when Ray checked in 422 ½ Main Street.

On 04-04-1968, at 6:01 p.m., King stepped out on a balcony of this Lorraine Motel and was speaking to a friend below him when a shot rang out and he fell mortally wounded. He was gunned down by one bullet and died later at a hospital.

Ray traveled from Memphis to Atlanta, then to Montreal, Canada, then to London, then to Portugal, then back to London where he was arrested at Heathrow Airport by Scotland Yard.


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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 472 W: 125 N: 2331] (8456)
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