An Act of State
The Execution of Martin Luther King
William F. Pepper
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The assassination of the Civil Rights leader: lone gunman or a conspiracy? “Forget everything you think you know” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).
Martin Luther King Jr. was a powerful and eloquent champion of the poor and oppressed in the United States. At the height of his fame in the mid-sixties, he seemed to offer the real possibility of a new and radical beginning for liberal politics in America. However, in 1968, he was assassinated, halting the movement for social, racial, and economic change.
The murder conviction of James Earl Ray never looked safe—especially to William F. Pepper, whose investigation into the case became a twenty-five year campaign for justice. In a 1999 civil trial supported by the King family, seventy witnesses testified to the conspiracy Pepper had unearthed. The jury concluded that Ray was not responsible for the assassination, and that government agents were involved in a wide-ranging conspiracy.
An Act of State lays out the extraordinary facts of the King story—of the huge groundswell of radical optimism he inspired, of how plans for his execution were laid at the very heart of the US government and the military, of the disinformation and media cover-ups that followed every attempt to expose the truth. As shocking as it is tragic, An Act of State is the most authoritative account of how King’s challenge to the US establishment led inexorably to his murder.