Forget the Government Conspiracy

King deserved a better ending than one at the hand of a two-bit punk, but James Earl Ray is really the little man who killed the big dreamer.

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Stoner, who claimed blacks were apes and that merely being a Jew should be a crime punishable by execution, became one of Ray's lawyers. In a bitter irony, it was this virulent bigot who first promulgated the idea that Ray was an innocent dupe caught up in a vast government conspiracy that was eventually embraced by King's family.

All that suggests to me that the shadowy network that was responsible for the death of Evers; the four little girls who died in the bombing at Birmingham's 16th Street Baptist Church; Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman ; and a host of other heroes is also responsible for Dr. King's martyrdom.

It pains all of us to think that a saint such as King perished at the hand of a two bit punk. A historic figure like him deserved a more glorious ending. But wishful thinking can not change the facts about James Earl Ray's complicity in slaying the dreamer. Pinning the murder on the government is a delusion and a lie.

Jack White is a regular contributor to The Root.

is a former columnist for TIME magazine and a regular contributor to The Root.