American Experience: Roads To Memphis
Airs Monday, May 2, 2011 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV
Thursday, April 29, 2010
The Manhunt For James Earl Ray
On April 4, 1968, James Early Ray shot Martin Luther King while he was standing on a balcony of the Lorraine Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. The ensuing manhunt would last more than two months and span five countries. It was said to be the FBI's most expensive and ambitious investigation in history. View the photo gallery
“We were never concerned with who killed Martin Luther King, but what killed Martin Luther King,” says former King aide Andrew Young.
From Emmy Award-winning director Stephen Ives, "Roads To Memphis" tells the wildly disparate yet fatefully entwined stories of an assassin, James Earl Ray, and his target, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., against the backdrop of the seething and turbulent forces in American society that led these two men to their violent and tragic collision in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968.
Based on a forthcoming book by Hampton Sides ("Hellhound on His Trail"), the program relies on eyewitness testimony from King’s inner circle and the officials involved in Ray’s capture and prosecution following an intense two-month international manhunt.
The first film to explore the mind of King's elusive assassin "Roads To Memphis" is both an incisive portrait of an America on edge in that crisis-laden year and a cautionary tale of how the course of history can be forever altered by the actions of one individual.