MIKE VINSON, Special to the Courier


Monday, April 4, 2011, marks the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King in Memphis, Tenn.

Along with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963, the MLK assassination continues to be shrouded in a cloak of mystery:

With these high-profile assassinations, there always emerge two schools of logic, and the JFK and MLK assassinations are no exceptions.

Many are convinced that Lee Harvey Oswald, alone, shot JFK. Others are convinced that a source(s) other than Oswald shot JFK.

Still, some are convinced that James Earl Ray, alone, shot MLK; many, however, are convinced that Ray didn't shoot MLK, and the actual killer was another source(s).

Since I already have written enough about the MLK assassination, I'm not going to founder you with redundancies.

However, to ensure that everyone has enough information to grasp this column's message (first-time readers, for example), I will provide this much info: I conducted the last live Q&A interview with James Earl Ray to be published.

After approximately 14 years of "nuts & bolts" research — walking the streets of Memphis, talking to judges, attorneys, street hustlers, and, most importantly, spending countless hours with James Earl's younger brother and confidant Jerry Ray — I am convinced James Earl Ray did not pull the trigger on the weapon that fired the bullet that killed MLK.

The primary intent of this column is to quick-shift the thought process from a lackadaisical gear of buying off on anything and everything a high-profile source says/writes to a higher gear of taking the time to "peel back the onion layers" until arriving at the actual "core" of the subject matter — to use a popular metaphor.

I say this from experience.

There was a time when I had a tendency to believe a majority of what I read or heard that came from a prime-time source: newspaper, magazine, television, radio.

Like most, I suppose, I actually didn't pay it all that much attention, one way or the other, simply, because it didn't affect my existence one way or the other.

Then I became involved researching and writing about the MLK assassination and James Earl Ray's alleged role.

The more I looked into it, and the more I cross-referenced what I'd read and heard with what I was finding, the more I thought, "Whoa, now, I don't care what he/she said or wrote, this does not add up in any shape, fashion, nor form."

Expectedly, I have been called a "conspiracy theorist" (and worse).

Granted, some attempt to apply "conspiracy" to just about every incident, minus any supporting evidence.

On the other hand, though, there are those who totally dismiss the existence of any sort of conspiracy, even when the evidence is overwhelmingly obvious.

I ask you: Is not one just as shortsighted and narrow minded as the other?

Concerning the research of these high-profile, highly-controversial issues, I forewarn anyone of this: It is not for those of thin skin and faint heart.

If you can't handle being repeatedly attacked and disappointed, then you're finished before you start.

However, if you are cut from stronger fabric, then (to borrow from outlaw biker terminology) you might qualify as a "one-percenter," an independent thinker willing to put in the time, take the heat, and get to the "core" of the matter, a cut above the other 99 percent.

Think Erin Brokovich.

(NOTE: A book titled "A Memoir of Injustice" recently was released. The authors are Jerry Ray and Tamara Carter, a well-known researcher and historian. The book is a highly informative, cutting-edge, easy-to-read take on the MLK assassination and James Earl Ray's alleged role. This book can be purchased at Barnes & Noble bookstores and Also, check out Facebook – A Memoir of Injustice; and website Also, related to the MLK-Ray issue, check out the "Chris Williams Show," at It can be viewed live (via Internet) at 2 p.m., EDT April 7.)