Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Arts & Culture

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: Roads To Memphis

Martin Luther King Jr. listens at a meeting of the SCLC, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a civil rights organization formed by King after the success of the Montgomery bus boycott.
©Flip Schulke/CORBIS
Martin Luther King Jr. listens at a meeting of the SCLC, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a civil rights organization formed by King after the success of the Montgomery bus boycott.

Now available to stream on demand with KPBS Passport

Witness the fatefully entwined stories of assassin James Earl Ray and his target, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Stream now with KPBS Passport!

A riveting crosscut narrative of a killer and his prey, "Roads To Memphis" is the fateful story of an assassin and his target set against the seething, turbulent forces in American society that drove two men to their violent and tragic collision on April 4, 1968.

Following the inexorably converging paths of James Earl Ray and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the film 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.

“Roads To Memphis” is told through 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 the elusive assassin, “Roads To Memphis” is directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Stephen Ives and produced by Amanda Pollak.

When James Earl Ray was arrested in July 1969, he was the most wanted suspect in the world. Who was this “four-time loser” who was able to assassinate Dr. King, the Nobel Prize-winning, charismatic leader of the civil rights movement?

How did Ray manage to escape and elude authorities for months? What motivated him to kill? “Roads To Memphis” reveals a mysterious and misunderstood loner who remains an enigma even today.

Watch On Your Schedule:

This full episode is available to stream on demand with KPBS Passport, video streaming for members supporting KPBS at $60 or more yearly, using your computer, smartphone, tablet, Roku, AppleTV, Amazon Fire or Chromecast. Learn how to activate your benefit now.

With the PBS Video App, you can stream your favorite and local station shows. Download it for free on your favorite device. The app allows you to catch up on recent episodes and discover award-winning shows.

Join The Conversation:

AMERICAN EXPERIENCE is on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and you can follow @AmExperiencePBS on Twitter. #AmericanExperiencePBS