In 1968, on this day Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights leader and third-party presidential candidate, is assassinated at Lorraine Hotel, Memphis. King was struck by a single bullet fired from a rifle. The bullet travelled through the right side of his neck, smashing his throat and then going down his spinal cord before lodging in his shoulder.
Gerry Shannon's King Dies for "No Lost Cause"King had been nominated as the Reform Party candidate for the Presidency of the Confederate States, and had been in Memphis for a scheduled campaign appearance. Though he had been trailing far behind both the Conservative and Democratic-Republican candidates in the national polls, King had hoped to use his candidacy as a platform for his long-standing campaign of civil rights for African-Americans in the CSA.
Only coming five years after the assassination of CS President Lyndon Johnson, King's murder would have an even profounder effect on society. Riots ignited across the state capitals, not the least of which in Richmond, for several weeks. CS President John Connolly releases a statement, "Dr. King would often tell me our Confederacy was built on a Lost Cause, but I know he was content to die for what he regarded as a more noble one. A cause dedicated to love and peace towards his fellow man, black and white; and one that can only improve the lives of all of us living in these Confederate States".
On June 10, 1968, James Earl Ray, a fugitive from a Missouri prison, was arrested at London's Heathrow Airport, extradited to the Confederate States, and chared with the crime. On March 10th, 1969, Ray entered a plea of guilty and sentenced to 99 years in the Tennessee state penitentiary. Following his incarceration, Ray would suddenly deny all charges and claim a mysterious individual named "Raoul" set him up; he would put forward this version of events until his death in 1998.