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tv   After Words James Swanson Chasing Kings Killer  CSPAN  April 1, 2018 9:00pm-10:01pm EDT

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the white house, the supreme court, and public policy events . . . . top nonfiction authors about their latest work. >> this is an absolutely fabulous book especially now that we are coming up on the 50th anniversary of the
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assassination of doctor martin luther king jr.. >> guest: it is a book i've always wanted to write. he came out early from work and i said why are you home p. said my employees live on the south and west side of chicago. it's a story i've lived with some type of a child and i knew the anniversary was coming up and it's an important occasion. it's the climax of a troubled g. of books i've done and assassinatioinassassination of n life abraham lincoln and now doctor king.
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so i've always wanted to do this. >> host: you focused a lot on james and how he and martin luther king jr. finally intersected. what did you learn about james and the story has been told over and over but i found so many things in here that i personally did not know. what did discover? >> guest: much of his life reveals 1960s america. he is a mysterious nobody that came out of nowhere almost like a super oswald. but he reflects where america was in the 1960s. he grew up in missouri and his family was as poor as during the civil war. he had no shoes, teachers said he was a repulsive little child treated terribly as a boy and then committed petty crimes in
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prison for 13 years and escaped from prison in missouri. he and his partner in crime stole $120 split $60 for that, he was in for 20 years and escaped in the spring of 1967. would he go back to a life of crime or something else, and he tried to discover him. he bought a mustang automobile and took bartending lessons in dancing lessons, self hypnosis lessons. he seemed to be going on a trip many americans did to go west in california to find himself to re-create himself and for a year he did that. he didn't particularly hate him, he was a racist like many that he never engaged, he was never in the clan, no racial violence, no protests, no crime.
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and so he was criticized in two different directions. a quiet life of freedom or a year later out of the blue for reasons we are still not sure today she decided to track doctor king. >> host: that is a question you bring up in the book is why. everybody knows how, but you've ring up why. why did he take this term for someone whose life is the life of a thief, of a robber, how did he go from bad? >> guest: when he escaped from a missouri prison he thought the fbi was on the most wanted list. a $50 reward was mentioned in it than he damaged and disappeared. nobody cared about james earl right. we don't know why but we do know this, doctor king came to california in march of 1960.
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it was the first time they were in the same city. king spoke in anaheim at a church and then within a day of his departure he got in his mustang and drove across america in the deep south in three weeke weeks later doctor king was dead. he didn't even own a rifle, he bought one and having shot a rifle in years. they don't know what that trigger was come up with an internal secret clock was triggered and beyond making that connection at the time and place we don't know why he never admitted to killing doctor king. he pled guilty but said he didn't do it later, so we don't know what that trigger was upset him off to leave bu behind his
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life. it's one of the great mysteries. it's so frustrating that he never told us why. >> host: you are not a believer by reading this book i can see of all the conspiracy theories that are around james earl ray, was a cia student, but he was hired by the clan. we are a conspiracy theory country. we love conspiracy theories. you say that james earl ray acted alone in the shooting. what information did you have got lifted those conspiracy theories for you? >> guest: there is so much physical evidence. people saw him by the rifle and rent a hotel room. they saw him in the hallway. he fled the building in the mustang after he shot doctor king.
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physical evidence about his whereabouts. he left behind evidence. he left behind fingerprints on the west end and a whole pile of evidence because when he fled, he was fleeing with the rifle supplies, personal items. but then he thought he saw some policemen at the end of the street. so he abandoned the whole bag in front of a store so he left behind a treasure trove of evidence that the fbi was able to reconstruct his movements, who he talked to, what he did. so the physical evidence was overwhelming. and finally after this intensive manhunt across the country they were able to retrace all this death and create a task force, go to england, try to escape to an african country where he could train a white militia and fight and a racist war.
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so, every piece of physical evidence points to james earl ray as the assassin of doctor king. beyond that, there've been questions about were others involved. he was about the last man you would want to send to commit a crime. a lifelong loser, unpredictable. he didn't know how to escape the country. people often say how did he get to england, he barely got their from paying jobs and other things. if somebody was helping him he never would have seen him again. he would have escaped an african country where he would have been extradited. he committed robberies in england to try to get the money. he tried to resolve a store and they attacked him and started beating him in their store. he held up a bank and fled the scene and was afraid. james earl ray was an incompetent criminal that lived the life of an incompetent criminal always getting
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arrested. he did do what he was doing. he wasn't a trained assassin. there were hundreds of rifle ban on the clan who could have done that job and would have done it willingly. it's one of those people in the clan who didn't kill doctor king earlier there is no evidence that he was part of any of that. what promise a reward for the death of doctor king. but how would he collect that reward and reinforce that promise into so i am convinced after all these years i'd love a good conspiracy story and i want to believe a conspiracy story.
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i think you do too. there is simply no evidence. i do have my own suspicions of his brothers may have helped him. i believe that one of the brothers helped him when he first got out of prison in 1967 i believe perhaps one of his brothers helped him in deciding how to flee america and also he fled the scene of a crime on the city bus. he drove his mustang to atlanta, the hometown which was a clever thing to do to look for the murder of doctor king said he drove from memphis to atlanta. then he took a greyhound bus from atlanta to cincinnati ohio. then he took a bus to michigan. what conspiracy would put its head man on a public bus in a taxi, wouldn't issue him with cash or transferred him away or kill him after he killed doctor king or who ordered him to do
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it. it's tantalizing to look for peace theories, but i just don't think it's true. we don't want to believe a good man like doctor martin luther king could be killed. one of the folders that i can't believe the million dollar boyfriend can be killed by a 10-cent white men but it's true it can happen. malcolm x., doctor king, robert kennedy, they can do terrible things. >> he's met with john wilkes booth and john harvey oswald and now james earl ray. he doesn't fit in that triangle. lee harvey oswald had some training. john wilkes had some training with the gun. james earl ray --
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>> guest: he knew how to shoot a rifle, but haven't for a long time, he was discharged for lack of fitness. they were very committed ideologically to their causes. john wilkes booth was a racist and white supremacists, pro- confederate grand. lee harvey oswald to the soviet union as an ideological warrior on a new orleans radio show in august 63 talking about communism and marxism before he killed kennedy with delusions of grandeur. he wanted to be famous. james earl ray lived in the shadows. in fact, people often said they couldn't remember thinking about him. one of the surgeons that operated under his nose said
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it's funny i can't remember anything about him. a thing about him. he lived anonymously, he did volunteer for the george wallace presidential campaign in california and became the lot that hung out there. he was a man on a self-improvement quest in a lost soul looking to find himself and that is why it is so perplexing that he was motivated to kill doctor king. he certainly was a racist, but so were millions of people at that time. but he chose to give doctor
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king. i think if you look at the personality and what he says later after his capture, in the end i think that he wanted to be somebody after all. he wanted to do something significant and achieve something important. there were self hypnosis books he had, he took them all the way to england and concentrated on the manner to make it happen. i think he wanted to feel his wife didn't amount to nothing. he did something of significance in the end. he asked him to turn the show on so he could watch himself and i am no psychiatrist or psychologist i just read history and try to write about it. i would say the likely motive is that he wanted to achieve some significance to.
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>> host: he's one of the rare assassins who lived and who could have told us the motivation. ray decided i'm going to try to withdraw the plea and a mysterious man guided me and i helped him unwittingly. if there was a rule that was one of his brothers were both of his brothers but for 30 years, he gave interviews on tv.
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whatever conspiracy you believe in whauvb thanwhat we paid thero evidence. he was with a rifle standing in the bathtub and fired a shot. when you look at that photogra photograph, he's holding out his hand and gray is standing with his hand at his site thinking you expect me to shake the hand of? >> host: and this is just incredible. the manhunt, chasing him, the international chase which is being led by the fbi, the one group that we know was no fan of doctor king -- >> guest: the great irony is the fbi had placed him on
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surveillance and people forget the order was assigned by robert kennedy -- >> host: let's get into that a little bit more. to spy on doctor king they get d to be authorized by someone. the fbi couldn't do that on on e road and the attorney general at the time was robert kennedy. kennedy. >> guest: and remember this, the kennedys were suspicious of doctor king, both brothers john and robert. they thought he had communist ties to. he was in very many ways a conservative person. and so, they were very fearful of the march on washington in
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1963. lyndon johnson believed in civil rights. and he was martin luther king's great partner in the assassination. if you listen to the tape recording calling doctor king after the testimony where he says i'm going to need you now i will do anything to help you, i need your advice i'm on your side it's a very touching call. the voting rights act and other things one of my favorite speeches in history is totally forgotten to take him if his speech on race, on the gettysburg battlefield in 1963 a few months before he became president. he tried to keep the speech that much longer than the gettysburg address. and he opened with the greatest line a hundred years ago, a
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slave was freed and 100 years later he remains in bondage by the color of his skin. so the kennedys were dubious of him certainly after racial violence jfk gave an important speech when they're little girls killed in birmingham. he gave a speech on civil rights, bu that kennedy did sign the order and j. edgar hoover hated martin luther king. he hated public disruptions in the streets. j. edgar hoover was no fan of taking part in an fbi agent either. so the great irony is surveilling doctor king the man whose writing letters about him, i discovered one in my own collection. shortly after doctor king had been announced in nobel peace prize, a. conference and called him the most notorious player in america. so, hoover wrote a letter to william sullivan, number three at the fbi.
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and he sent hoover a complimentary note that says thank you for all the calls and letters i've gotten a. he shared the exposure of martin luther king as long overdue. a conservative black clergymen criticizing king for the moral failings. you must give doctor king assassin, spare nothing. he didn't violate a federal crime, he violated the murder laws of tennessee. if you look at the reward posterscommitted, they don't sad
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for the murder of doctor martin luther king dacey wanted for the conspiracy. he got half the fbi on a manhunt for james earl ray. no one knew a man named james earl ray killed doctor king because he used so many pseudonyms. so j. edgar hoover knew that the fbi would go down for infamy. so they knew they just had to do with whatever j. edgar hoover felt. >> host: i love how you describe that really gives going through finding fingerprints, going back to the prison to find out james earl ray's name. so much of it was like work before the computer age. the fbi took to the field and thought he must have prompted
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birmingham and then suggest it might be from this gunshot lets finfind thelet'sfind the man thm and canvass the entire neighborhood. we will go to every boarding house, every motel because somewhere he checked in and people will remember him so they did a lot of legwork in chicago. they did an excellent job because the knew there would be hell to pay if the killer wasn't found. >> host: he had so many chances to vanish after he left atlanta and went to canada and made it to england it seemed see the world was conspiring against him he could have vanished just like that. it's all evidence that shows it was ad hoc and wasn't a well well-planned out conspiracy.
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he finds people that were born around where he was and starts calling them asking for a passport. he found people who had traveled and in canada you didn't need to prove you were a citizen. he could have gotten the passport almost immediately. but even when he got to england he didn't have enough money. he was there running low on money hoping to get to africa and it was a series of mistakes along the way. he could have escaped or vanished but he they plan over the documents, he didn't have the money and that shows what an ad hoc plan this really was. >> host: [inaudible] >> guest: he goes to the
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airport and looks like he's going to get through. ray had made a spelling mistake and was corrected when he went to portugal and back to england. so on the second one they said excuse me, but i have a word with you and the word was out that the assassin was in england, and he was suspicious. he was carrying a pistol which was unlawful in england and they put one, two and three together. i believe you are not canadian. i believe you are american wanted for murder. he simply collapses. you've got me. i've got nothing to say. >> host: american history under just one simple question.
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they opened fire on scotland and mike booth who went down unlike lee harvey oswald. james earl ray's surrendered and tried to play up the story that he wasn't so weak that the story got out and that was taking off the land of his days on the run. >> host: you talk a lot in the book about the arc between king and james earl ray and all the places history could have changed to one small thing. one of the things that fascinates me is to actually start with another assassination attempt. you start and end but what many people don't know about that instance in new york at the beginning of their career.
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he didn't want to be famous or the leader of the big end. he thought he was going to live a quiet life as his father did and other mandated. he didn't have ambitions to be world famous but then he got involved in the montgomery alabama bus boycott and that made him a famous figure on "time" magazine he wrote a book about it. he was in new york city at the department store signing copies of the book. there was a little trouble the night before he was speaking at a big rally. and a black woman, well-dressed, started heckling doctor king. she quieted down and nobody paid any attention. this one said maybe you should have a bodyguard before you leave, so there is a great photograph that depicts him sitting at a desk with black
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children and wife told him shaking his hand. if it's a picture of racial harmony that he sought to achieve, and there's a line of quiet people waiting to get it autographed. a woman walks up, from the night before but he doesn't realize it was her. she says are you doctor king, she was dressed for a sunday church. she doesn't look threatening, she looks normal and respectable. she then yells-after hugh for five years. she reaches into her bag. fortunately she didn't reach into her brawl where she had a pistol. >> host: [inaudible] >> guest: she then brings out a letter opener, but it's a miniature samurai sword very sharp. she says-after you for five years. she brings it down and she plunges it in to his chest.
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in the buck on the daily news front page shows him sitting back stunned. she tried to pull it off but the handle broke off. and then the crowd decided to get her. women with umbrellas said she got doctor king, get her don't let her get away. the security guard grabbed her and she couldn't get to her pistol. he said he didn't know what happened. it's alright, everyone remain calm. he's rushed to the hospital command before they get there, somebody else don't do it, you will kill him, the blood to gush out. as rushed to the hospital, put into surgery and healed. the doctors told him later that if he had even sneezed, it would have moved the edge of the blade and kill a -- killed you.
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the scar is in the shape of a heart which he said is appropriate. and so leader he has a decision to make. this has been a warning. do i go back to my quiet life, my parish, my wife, or do i go back where history seems to be taking me. and he said we must all be prepared to die. that was the moment he made a commitment to the movement to go forward and he barely survived it. >> host: let's talk about this affect a little bit. she hadn't seen king before this as we know, she had not been tracking him for five years. >> guest: he was -- she was mentally ill. she said he was a communist. it's funny, he was a communist, ties to the party, reporting him to the fbi. he's been trying to hurt me for years. she was delusional, it was all
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in her mind. >> host: this also inspired his favorite letter that he got so much i know. talk a little bit about that. >> guest: he got a letter from a little girl in new york that said dear doctor king, this shouldn't matter but i will tell you i'm a little white girl in new york, and i heard that if you had sneezed you would have died. she said i am so glad you didn't. she went on to say more and he references that letter on what i believe is the greatest night of his life. yes, the march on washington, august of 63 was vital. i think that there is a better one and that is the night at april 3, 1968 in memphis. doctor king doesn't want to speak and he says to ralph abernathy, but he said you've got to come, there are cameras and people are expecting you.
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and meanwhile hiding out in the hotel for the next day, king doesn't know, he doesn't feel well if he decides to go. without a prepared script he gives the great mountaintop speech, which i think is the best speech in american history. he then says ten years ago, september 1958 and here it is now april of 68, he says years ago a demented sister almost stabbed me in the heart and almost killed me. doctors said if i had sneezed i would have died. then he said and he said a litte a letter to me and i also am so glad i didn't sneeze because if i did i wouldn't be here with you in 1961. i wouldn't have been at the bridge were at the lunch counter protests. i wouldn't have been with you in august of 63 at the memorial.
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i wouldn't have been here with you for all these other things were here tonight. at the end of it, prophetically he said like anyone, i would like to live a long life but tonight my eyes have seen the glory in a little did he know a couple miles away in a hotel with a man with a rifle waiting to kill him the next day. ralph abernathy later says i've seen him in office features, hundreds and thousands, i've never seen him better. it was as though he sensed that it was coming. he'd been arrested so many times, his home was bombed, he was shot at, threatened with death. that's why in many ways he was one of the most courageous leaders in history. abraham lincoln -- john kennedy
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was threatened with death, robert kennedy wasn't threatened all the time. anytime martin luther king was in public there was a chance that someone would try to kill him and he didn't need a proper bodyguards. it was a dangerous life and we should remember on the occasion of his death how truly brave he was to face all these things. >> host: you have written for both adult and young adult. this one is aimed towards younger adults if i'm not mistaken. tell me who this is aimed at. >> guest: i try to tell the story in two different ways, one level the photographs and
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diagrams alone tell the story. i did a lot of work to find photos you hopefully haven't seen before. i try t tried to tell a story ad also, i tricked you told the story through words and it's for adults also in teams because they think they will be most interested in the story of doctor king, the drama of his life because i told the story it isn't just about a murder. it is a book that happens to be about his killing. what i ai am obsessed with is ty dramatic moments when everything changes overnight and that is certainly the case in the assassination. so, i talk about the vietnam war protests, the civil rights protest, the change in america a so the bug exists in multiple levels. it's blue at the level of the
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story, the terror of what happened in the manhunt. adults get that oh so but they get the race to the moon and it was one of the worst in history think of everything that happened in the murder of doctor king, robert kennedy, violence in the streets, i went apollo eight circled the moon. the earth rising above so with all of the terror and things happening we looked to the sky for hope so and hoping that it will appeal to teens and adults. i want people to know they can be part of history not just spectators.
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john lewis was kind enough to write a great forward and one thing that struck me, when he says i was 15-years-old when i first heard the voice of doctor martin luther king on the radio and i thought to myself what can a boy do to help in a few years later, 23-years-old speaking to 250,000 people at the lincoln memorial, the girls who were killed in the birmingham church bombing in august come in september 1963 they were just kids. they were children confronting the dogs i dogs and fire housesn the street and so i want young people to know they can do more, they can be part of history and we can do things so that's one message i want to convey. if you don't think about book
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with john lewis did and the pioneers in the movement did, what can i do so i hope it is inspiring and not just static story from the past. one of the books is called where do we go from here and so the message is where do we go from here if you live he would have been 89-years-old in april of 2018. it's tragic that they died too young. king looks so somber in his books with a suit and tie. he was only 39 when he was shot. i also want to show kids the other side of him because he is so somber and serious on private he'd love to laugh and was merciful, he had fun.
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about an hour before he was shot and killed, they have just gotten the news they wanted to separate the sanitation workers. martin luther king and his top aides were down on a pillow fight so that is the human side i want people to read about for his first experiences with racism. she didn't have the typical experience but at some point his parents had to have you talked to prepare him for life in the world. so that's why i didn't want to but just to be about the death of martin luther king. it happens to be about is last
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days but it's also about the life that he led so i want the reader to experience that. >> host: do you think that today's millennialist know enough about that time. co. and how it shaped the country that we are today? >> guest: i don't think people know enough about history. maybe it is my prejudice but i am happy whenever i meet young people. a lot of kids are liking nonfiction history now. a lot of kids are reading it, so whenever i see younger people, whenever i give a talk at a book signing will they go to a school, i am encouraged by how many have an appetite for historical knowledge. if they were carrying on tv
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shows, i think that. what could be more interesting than becoming one of the leaders in the world. what could be more interesting than the story of john kennedy or other forgotten names. it wasn't just doctor king. he would be the last person to say that it was trust him. it was also ralph abernathy, it was malcolm x., it was a whole bunch of people. it was an ensemble of leaders and that is a message i try to convey in the book but it was an entire group of people and also this, people have forgotten the rights of the movement. martin once admitted and she accepted the life that she didn't have to.
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she didn't want to move that way. she wanted to be a part of the movement. women were an indispensable part of the movement and i don't think that they have been given their due. i try to dilute that in the book and also encourage people to talk to family members and search their attics. do your grandparents have anything that was history dies unless we present the stories. all across america there are martin luther king seems in homes, so i encourage people to find these objects and connect with history so this is a moving story. doctor king couldn't finish his mission. she died too younhe died too yoe lincoln. america would have been a better place if lincoln had lived.
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the civil war didn't end. it ended slavery technically but didn't end depression or stop 4,000 lynchings. it's important for people to remember doctor king often said how long will it take. i think his message today would be optimistic. much has changed for the better but if he were with us today he would say how long will it take. >> host: you mentioned the pivot that he took towards the end the career to start talking about the vietnam war and economic justice. a lot of things you're talking
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about right now with economics and america's involvement overseas. he was moving away from giving only civil rights to these international issues. talk a little bit about that. >> guest: in 1967, doctor king made a move against the vietnam war and decided it was important in the civil rights movement many didn't like it, not just wife beaters with african-american leaders said what are you doing we are fighting for our rights. it hasn't done. we just finished the voting rights act. there is much more to do. you are detracting and confusing the message.
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they thought he betrayed him over the vietnam war and it caused a great addition. also, he wanted to expand economic justice have also not just blacks that everyone, hispanics, others. the great irony of his life is his impoverished life his lack of education. james earl ra ray the voice of e kind of person martin luther king would have wanted to help that he had a big plan for the summer of 68 he wanted to organize a poor people's campaign, for people of all races lived in a city on the mall. so he was broadening the movement and one thing people should remember is he wa if he o conflicted and overcome as early as 66 he would ask is it too
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much for one man to do and sometimes he said you just run the movement, take it over, i'm out. he left the room and then he came back. think of the pressure he was under being challenged by rival leaders. the invaders in memphis and they were on different paths and didn't believe in the protests. they have the rule of law and other things and so there were many paths to the equal rights and civil rights which different people advocate and so the pressure was incredible and every time he would make a move like expanding economic justice, economic rights, the vietnam
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war, military missions abroad, controversy and division and it would cause him to help self doubt so it is not as though he was a man at the height. he was in command of an entire movement and has gone through aa series of challenges and adults so that's why i think one reason this speech is so magnificent because he comes to the podium as a man who didn't want to speak that night and who has many values and concerns about danger and the safety of his family, rivals in the movement coming young people were mocking him and they thought he was past his time so what's so magnificent about the west for light olife is likelight of hiss everything he ever was, everything he is at that moment
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into that speech. it's like he's taking a journey from his past and bringing it into that moment. we could write a book just about that speech and what it meant and how it represented his entire life. >> host: me forget as the years have passed that he wasn't on everyone's favorites list. it was about the way the movement was going and how they were leaving it to he was excoriated by many leaders
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because this news was i'm going to portray my friend is the man he was. he wouldn't want to be portrayed as a saint bigger than a man. abraham lincoln wasn't to be beloved, and i don't think doctor king would want to be thought of today as this seemed. he had a commitment and fear, loyalty like any man he was a complex person. he was a great person, but he wouldn't want us to think that he was a saint. >> host: bringing it back to james earl ray. given the star power they seem
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to have wanted it makes them somebody by writing to james earl and the chase to catch him. do you think that is something that we need to be concerned about in the type of attention that we are given to these notorious figures? >> guest: we have to be careful how we treat them. a woman came to me after i wrote and said i'm mad at you. you made me love john wilkes booze. i said you haven't read the book i wrote because i say that he was a racist and a murderer and a hero of the story of abraham lincoln. we have to write about the great people and evildoers. john wilkes booth is a terrible man who killed one of the greatest americans who ever lived. same with john kennedy was a great man. i didn't want anyone to ever think that there was something
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laudable about him but it's important to tell the story of who they were and why they thought they were doing what they did and what the consequences were. it's too easy to dismiss someone and get them off the page and then you don't know why they did what they did or what influenced them so if leads to a greater understanding to explain more about them were almost doing a favor and take them off the page of history. it's troubling to find out who they really were and to realize how easily an anonymous person coming from anywhere can change history. we want to believe in conspiracy theories but we cannot accept that a nobody from nowhere could take down lincoln, john kennedy,
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robert kennedy or martin luther king. the universe doesn't seem to be in the proper order because if kennedy can't be protected, king can't be protected, what chance do we have to protect ourselves from anonymous threats were it's disturbing to think that even the great can't always protect themselves from the fate that awaits them and that's one reason we want to believe that there is a pain in the predictability and these event in history. if it makes us feel safer at the universituniverse does have ordt really doesn't. so, not too concerned about the way that we write about james earl ray i make it absolutely clear who he was and what he did and when you get to the end of the book, you will know that before the end of the book you will know what i think of martin luther king and the hero of the story is an in hero for the fute
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it's still doctor king, alive or dead one of the greatest in american history. >> host: why do you think james earl ray held out until the very end and didn't tell his story. he had 30 years, but he denied it until his end. like you said he even brought in the members of his own family be leaving the stories from prison. this was his chance and he didn't take it. >> guest: he was serving life in prison. no hope of escape. his later years were filled with illness. he was almost stabbed to death, almost died from an illness. he escaped from prison again after the king assassination he
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was on the run for only three days this time. i don't know why he didn't in the end want to claim credit for admits what he had done or write a best-selling book about it. that's one of the frustrating things about history, we can't find out all the answers. we want to know why did he do it and why won't he admit, what motivated him. he never told us. oswald never told us. he didn't live long enough to tell us. but he denied it. that is one of the great perplexing mysteries if who was james earl ray and what sent him on the road to buy a rifle along the way and begin stalking doctor king.
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we will never know the answer to that question. >> host: what's next? you've done lincoln, kennedy and now king. based on the book manhunt my friend and i are doing a post on african-american history, and beyond that i don't know. i think i want to write a crime novel or two. working on these books takes so much research into detail and accuracy. i might see if i'm any good at making it up. >> i don't think there's any doubt with all of the knowledge you will be able to craft a
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great story. when you are sitting down and think about your next project, how do you shift in your head writing for adults or is it the entire process the way through? >> guest: i think a great book has to exist in multiple levels it can't just be his last day or his last three days. it's about a boy growing up in the south, another boy james earl ray. it's about racism in america, it's about the civil rights movement, it's about lynching, the 1960s, john kennedy, lyndon johnson, it's about many things. so for adults i take it to many different levels and for younger people you have to begin at the basic story that will grab their interest and then hook them and
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teach them to history. the history. i hope that the fourth of things i never want a young person reading them to think i'm teaching history. i want the lesson to come along with the drama of the story. every book i've ever written has been about something that fascinated me since i was a child. born on lincoln's birthday in chicago, read about it from the time i was a little boy come interested in john kennedy, i remember the funeral of doctor martin luther king very well and i realized when i did this book, everything i' i've ever written about has been a story that has fascinated me since i was very young. and i think that means i am connecting to the boy i was. maybe he's still alive inside me. i don't know what people want or what people like, and i know what moves me. so i try to write the book that
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is the story i would have wanted to read when i was a boy and that's how i approach it. i imagine i'm still that boy who just saw him on television, who just watched the kennedy funeral on television and i'm writing it for. if i'm successful at it it's because i'm in touch with the kid i was writing the books i would have liked to have read when i was hit. >> guest: >> host: i learne have learned o much by reading this. i learned so much i didn't know the photo that illustrated the great work. thank you so much for coming and talking to us today.
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>> on the strip club for example, immediately i confessed a woman came over to our table and i was like i'm a journalist. i'm just asking some questions do you mind, and she was super helpful. all these companies are here all the time sometimes there is a balm in tagging along for whatever reason and they talk about work. they will be with their boss after the big conferences the executives will walk into the door with their special badges,
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they might go up to their private rooms together. business is getting done in the middle of the day at the heart of san francisco at a strip club. we are talking about what exists in every industry. but in silicon valley this is supposed to be the most progressive industry in the world and yet the people that have connecte connected this ane building self driving cars and trying to take up to mars when you ask them what can we do about hiring more women they are like that is just so hard. i don't know how we are going to solve that. so, one of the really important reasons i wanted to write his two the hypocrisy of it but on top of that i believe the people that are taking us to mars and connecting the world and have given us raises at the pus pusha
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button i believe they can hire and pay them fairly. ..


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