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The Conspiracy To Kill MLK: Don't Call It A Theory

Referring to the murder of Martin Luther King Jr. by the hands of the US government as a conspiracy theory both misuses that term itself and ignores concrete evidence clearly identifying the true culprits. By definition, conspiracy theories give hypothesis without supplying actual evidence, whereas a conspiracy is a secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. The notion that agencies within the American government could conspire, or secretly plot, to harm and/or kill Civil Rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. left our nation rocked to its core. Citizens were left questioning the veracity of their own government, and pondering the possibility that it played a role in MLK’s untimely death. The ‘theory’ was so seriously entertained that a congressional investigation was created to look into their murders. The lack of answers became my inspiration, and drove me to follow the historical paper trail in search of an answer hidden in plain sight. Through the careful examination of prior court rulings, government investigations, and former top secret files that have finally seen the light of day, we the people now have tangible proof definitively showing who was truly responsible for King’s death.


James Earl Ray, the man accused of killing MLK, was arrested in England a few months after the April 4, 1968 assassination. After being in custody for nearly a year, Ray finally confessed to the murder with a guilty plea on March 10 1969, his 41st birthday. The guilty plea allowed Ray to avoid both a public trial as well as the possibility of a death sentence by electrocution. Judge Preston Battle presided over the hearing. In his official notes he included a point about the possibility of conspiracy,

"If this defendant was a member of a conspiracy, no member of that conspiracy can ever live in peace or security or rest his head in sweet dreams because in this state there is no statute of limitations for capital offenses (BBC, 1968)."

Ray immediately regretted his confession, and wrote to that very same judge less than four days later, recanting his role. For the rest of his life James Earl Ray tried to clear his name, stating that he was set up as a fall guy for the real shooter. Ray died in the hospital facilities of a maximum security prison just a few weeks after the 30th anniversary of MLK’s death. Both the Ray and King families would continue to work clear his name posthumously by presenting plenty of evidence supporting Ray’s claim of innocence. This evidence instead points to the possibility of the real culprit acting from within the government. The evidence is so strong that the King family wholeheartedly believes that the man originally accused of the crime, James Earl Ray, is not the killer.


Days before his assassination, Martin Luther King Jr. visited his mother and father in Atlanta. In Martin Senior's biography, he recalls his son’s concerns about the dangers of his upcoming trip to Memphis stating,

“Several reliable sources, both private and from within the federal government, concluded that attempts would soon be made on M.L.’s life. Money was involved. Professional killers were being recruited (Daddy King, 2017).”

MLK and his family knew the rabbit hole went deep from the very beginning and it would take generations to prove that the conspiracy started from within the federal government. Decades later in 1999, MLK’s son, Dexter King said point blank to his father’s convicted killer, James Earl Ray,

At the conclusion of their 1999 civil lawsuit, the King family did eventually achieve the justice that they were seeking. The suit, “King versus Jowers and Other Unknown Co-Conspirators” included three and a half weeks of evidence. After which, the 12 jurors delivered their history-altering verdict. As a civil court case, their guilty verdict made it an indisputable legal fact that the government was liable for the murder of the Reverend and that the assassination plot involved "others, including governmental agencies (KingCenter)." You won’t find that guilty verdict printed in school textbooks or mentioned by any mainstream media outlets on Martin Luther King Day or during Black History Month, but their verdict still rings out today in the very spot where MLK was killed.

The Lorraine Hotel where MLK was gunned down has since been transformed into the National Civil Rights Museum. The museum’s Lingering Questions installation stands as a monument to the exhibition’s namesake and suggests the potential for numerous culprits and even conspiracy including the mafia, CIA, FBI, and the Memphis Police Department. Even with a guilty verdict from the 1999 civil suit and the exhibitions’ display cases worth of evidence, the “Unknown Conspirators” from within the American government remain anonymous.


In 1976 the United States House of Representatives’ Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) was created to investigate the deaths of MLK and JFK as a way to appease the public’s outcry and growing dissension. That’s only a mere 8 and 14 years after the murders of King and President Kennedy respectively. Due to the long shadow cast by the JFK conspiracy, the HSCA’s controversial conclusions on MLK’s death have often been overlooked in the annals of history.

The findings of the committee both contradictorily upheld and opposed the government’s traditional narrative that James Earl Ray was solely responsible for the death of MLK. The investigation concluded that James Earl Ray pulled the trigger, but was just one cog in a larger conspiracy. However the committee stated that no Federal, State, or local government agencies were a part of the plot. Yet, the HSCA’s own findings glaringly contradict that conclusion when they openly state that both the Department of Justice and FBI failed to adequately investigate the possibility of government involvement in the conspiracy. This conspicuous statement shows that both agencies’ investigations into the possibility of conspiracy from within were wholly inadequate. The statement also shows that the initial investigations unknowingly, and possibly knowingly, obscured the HSCA’s own investigation. Even working with half-truths and concealed information, the HSCA shows why and how these agencies had it out for the civil rights leader.

The HSCA reports that the DOJ failed to adequately oversee the FBI’s COINTELPRO campaign against Dr. King. COINTELPRO aka Counter Intelligence Program was a covert surveillance program meant to destabilize those movements whom the FBI deemed subversive. Generally that meant being on the left side of the political spectrum. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover created the secret “dirty tricks” program to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, neutralize or otherwise eliminate" the activities of dissenters like MLK, and the movements they championed. To achieve such a goal, FBI agents favored unconstitutional and ethically apprehensible strategies including blackmail, financial pay-offs, burglary, document forging, illegal surveillance, and spreading false rumors & propaganda. MLK was under FBI monitoring as early as the mid-1950s but it wasn’t until the late 50s and early 1960s that those efforts intensified. In specific regard to the FBI’s handling of MLK within the program, the HSCA stated that the agency

“Grossly abused and exceeded its legal authority and failed to consider the possibility that actions threatening bodily harm to Dr. King might be encouraged by the program (H.R. Final Report, 1978).”

That’s right, according to the findings of the HSCA, the FBI may have even encouraged physical harm towards the Reverend. The agency had previously been accused of violent tactics and even arranging murders, but the HSCA’s investigation didn’t have the necessary tangible proof to conclude that the FBI was in at least some way responsible for King’s death. No such physical evidence would ever be given to the committee by either agency due to the concealed investigation. Evidence of that nature would have showed both the FBI & DOJ acted illegally towards an American citizen, or worse proving that someone within our own government murdered MLK.

Over 50 years ago in 1964, MLK received an anonymous typed blackmail letter infamously known as the “FBI-King Suicide Letter.” It threatened to expose the leader’s infidelities if he didn’t leave the public forum. This letter might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back, the proverbial cherry on top that resulted in the HSCA’s initial investigation. The letter read,

"King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. … You are done. There is but one way out for you."

Two arguments developed over how to interpret the letter. One side of the argument concluded that it was requesting him to leave the public spotlight. However, many believed that in this letter the FBI insinuates that King should go as far as to kill himself to avoid public embarrassment. No such concrete evidence existed because the public had never seen an uncensored version of the letter. A recent discovery finally puts to rest this old debate, while simultaneously telling us who was ultimately responsible for MLK’s death.

In 2014, Yale University professor Beverly Gage was rifling through files at the National Archives, and what she found challenged the accepted story. There she found a complete, non-redacted version of the “FBI-King Suicide Letter” located in J. Edgar Hoover’s once personal top-secret files. This needle hidden in the haystack indicated that Hoover was the true author of the letter. The full version shows just how deeply threatening of a letter it was to King. Hoover called him “lower than a beast” using the words “Abnormal,” “Fraud,” and “Evil”. Each of these words were used in a minimum of 3 instances. Hoover's contempt towards King is no shocking revelation, as he publicly hated King as a result of his open criticism towards the agency that Hoover ran. Hoover is on record called King the ‘‘Most notorious liar in the country”. Hoover’s FBI and their COINTEL Program had previously been accused of extreme violent tactics and even orchestrating killings. Former Asst. Director of the FBI Frank Sullivan once testified before Senate that “No holds were barred” in the FBI’s surveillance of King. Now thanks to Gage, a direct connection shows that the original author of the suicide letter was most likely Hoover, and in his own words, proves he wanted MLK dead. Why was FBI Director Hoover, arguably the most powerful man in America at the time, so terrified of MLK that he would be driven to have MLK murdered?


In addition to MLK’s repeated public criticisms of the FBI and their continuously failed attempt to discredit him, Hoover believed King was a twofold threat to national security. As the leader of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and soon-to-be Nobel Prize winner, King had both the communicative ability to champion his cause and an organization proven to move the masses with organized protests and activities. The Bureau was worried that King would embrace the Black Nationalism movement and abandon his nonviolence approach, causing the country to explode into chaos. Hoover was also threatened by some of King’s advisors who had known ties to the Communist Party (CNN, 2014). Before his death, even President Kennedy was deeply concerned about the possible influence of Communism within King’s protest organization, the SSLC.

Rumor had it that MLK was going to launch a possible bid for office. Hoover’s horribly misguided 1 + 1 = 5 logic, might have caused him to believe he had no choice but to eliminate MLK in order to prevent further communist influence and even a hostile takeover of America. The FBI director certainly had both the means and ability to cover it up. Testimony from the King trial shows a direct connection to Hoover wielding power within the broader conspiracy.

Frank Holloman was the Memphis Fire and Police Director at the time of MLK’s death. Two interesting coincidences during Holloman’s tenure highlight a disturbing pattern. Holloman just happened be a former FBI veteran with 25 years of experience. He was the inspector in charge of Director J. Edgar Hoover’s Washington office for ten years. The last eight of Holloman’s FBI career coincided with the COINTEL program. During his tenure, Holloman personally worked under Hoover and the same program that intended to harm MLK. Holloman was also the only person to ever hold the position of Memphis Fire and Police Director, a position which didn’t even exist until the months leading up to King’s assassination. As the Memphis Fire and Police Director, Holloman was responsible for the performance of the Memphis Police and the security they provided King while he was in the city.

Holloman has been accused of ordering the withdrawal of King’s security to practically nil. He went as far as to transfer black firefighters who specifically requested to oversee King’s security, from their fire stations on the same day as the assassination. The black firefighters’ station happened to be both conveniently located across the street from the Lorraine Motel as well as steps away from the location where witnesses first pointed to as the true location of the assassin almost immediately after the shots were fired. Coincidentally or not, that location was completely sanitized within hours of the shooting. Hoover finally got his wish on April 4, 1968, when MLK was shot dead at the Lorraine Motel.

Undeniable mounds of evidence demonstrate that the American government is culpable in the death of Martin Luther King Jr. A guilty verdict in 1999, rendered by citizens like you and me that resulted in legal fact. A 1970’s congressional investigation shows how the FBI recklessly encouraged violence towards King, culminating in a threatening blackmail letter. A letter shown to be written by the FBI’s head J. Edgar Hoover, who states how desperately he wanted King dead. Agencies within the American government conspired to kill Civil Rights leader Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. It was a conspiracy, but its way more than just a damn theory.


H.R. Rep. No. Final Report of the Select Committee on Assassination (1978).

Findings on MLK Assassination

Civil Case: King Family versus Jowers

The FBI's secret memos show an agency obsessed with "neutraliz(ing)" MLK

FBI–King suicide letter

The 1977 Report Detailing FBI Misconduct While Surveilling Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King's son Dexter meets James Earl Ray, Patsy-Assassin of his father, Time And Again History (1997)

PyromaniaArts -

BBC ON THIS DAY | 10 | 1969: Martin Luther King's killer gets life

Martin Luther King Jr's Death, as Remembered by His Father

Frank Holloman collection

National Civil Rights Museum

Museum Gives Voice to Doubts on Dr. King's Killer

Jeffrey Gettleman -

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Martin Luther King Assassination Conspiracy Exposed in Memphis by Jim Douglass



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