Vs. Case No. 97242





November 18th, 1999



Before the Honorable James E. Swearengen,

Division 4, judge presiding.





Suite 2200, One Commerce Square

Memphis, Tennessee 38103

(901) 529-1999


(901) 529-1999



For the Plaintiff: DR. WILLIAM PEPPER

Attorney at Law

New York City, New York

For the Defendant:


Attorney at Law

Memphis, Tennessee

Court Reported by:


Certificate of Merit

Registered Professional


Daniel, Dillinger,

Dominski, Richberger &


22nd Floor

One Commerce Square

Memphis, Tennessee 38103


(901) 529-1999






BY MR. PEPPER........................ 360 20


BY MR. GARRISON...................... 442 8



BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 445 5


BY MR. GARRISON:..................... 451 5


BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 452 1



BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 453 4


BY MR. GARRISON:..................... 467 3


BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 477 7


BY MR. GARRISON:..................... 479 12



BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 487 16


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PREVIOUS TESTIMONY READ............... 480 14



BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 496 7


BY MR. GARRISON:..................... 503 19



BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 507 21


BY MR. GARRISON:..................... 531 18


BY MR. PEPPER:....................... 535 3


Exhibits 2 and 3 respectively........ 502 7

Exhibit 4............................ 536 17


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(November 18th, 10:20 a.m.)

THE COURT: All right. Bring

the jury out, Mr. James.

(Jury in.)

THE COURT: Before we begin, let

me explain that Mr. Jowers has my permission

to be absent this morning. We're going to

continue with the proof.

All right. You may proceed.

MR. PEPPER: Good morning, Your


THE COURT: Good morning.

MR. PEPPER: Plaintiffs call as

their first witness Reverend James Lawson.


Having been first duly sworn, was examined

and testified as follows:



Q. Good morning, Reverend Lawson.

A. Good morning.

Q. Thank you very much for coming here


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this morning.

A. You are welcome.

Q. In fairness to you, I know you've

just gotten off a plane from Los Angeles and

come directly into the courtroom.

A. Right.

Q. If at any time you feel a bit woozy

or you want a break, perhaps we could ask and

his Honor will indulge. It has been awhile

since you slept.

A. Thank you. Yeah.

Q. Would you please state your full name

and address for the record.

A. James M. Lawson, Jr., 4521 Don

Timatayo Drive, Los Angeles, 90008.

Q. What is your profession?

A. I've been a pastor for forty-five


Q. And what was your most recent


A. I just retired as pastor from Holeman

United Methodist Church in Los Angeles.

Q. And prior to that charge where were

you, sir?


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A. I was for twelve years pastor at

Centenary United Methodist Church here in

Memphis, Tennessee.

Q. Would you tell the jury where you

were trained and what your background has


A. Well, I'm a third-generation clergy

person, and I did my college work at Bolden

Wallace College in Moorea, Ohio, my

theological work at Olin Graduate School of

Theology at Vanderbilt University of

Nashville and Boston University.

Q. When did you first meet Martin Luther


A. About February the 6th or 7th of

1957. I was a graduate student in theology

at Olin College in Ohio. Martin King came

there to spend a day of talking to the

university and to the community. I was in a

small luncheon at noon time with him. We had

a chance to be alone. So we visited and

talked and found ourselves to be very much in

sync with one another as people.

Q. What was it that made you feel


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compatible in terms of viewing the world and

the problems and the issues of the day with

Martin King?

A. Well, he had just completed the

Montgomery bus boycott, which had begun

December 1st, 1955. And it had just finished

in January of 1957, and it was successful.

It was the first almost -- I think it could

be said it was the first major non-violent

direct action movement in at least the 1950's

in the United States and one of the largest

and most powerful. The ripples went all

across the world.

At the time I was serving as a coach

and campus minister in Nog Por, India, and I

first saw the story on the front pages of the

newspapers. It was on the BBC. It was on

all the radio stations then in India. So it

was a world-wide story.

I had been a non-violent

practitioner since about age ten or eleven.

I had studied it and had worked on issues

against racism in the United States as a

college student and as a graduate student.


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So I had a background of both practical

experience and the theory.

Of course, being in India I followed

the work of Mahatma Gandi at length, and I

told Martin King of this experience, and that

was one of the things that linked us very

closely. While in college, at the end of the

1940's, I had wanted to -- I had decided I

should work in the South, that there was a

clear call for me to work in the South to try

to apply creative non-violence to the

eradication of racism and segregation.

So I mentioned this to him. Dr.

King said, well, don't wait, come now, we

need you. So, consequently, I changed any

plans and sped up my calendar to finish up my

schooling and go south.

Q. We've called you as a background

witness in terms of the whole aspect of

Martin King's work that led you here to

Memphis. So you are a bit out of sync, but

because of scheduling, we brought you in here

at this point in time to have you talk about

these things. You knew Dr. King from 1957 to


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the time he died. Is that correct?

A. Yes, right.

Q. How did you see him change as a

preacher and as a leader during that period

of time?

A. Well, there are lots of ways. In the

first instance he had planned basically

probably with his life to become a preacher

and then the president of a college or

university. That's why he had done a Ph.D.

in theology at Boston University.

So he expected to follow in the

pathway of two or three people who were

friends of his father, Benjamin Mayes of

Moorehouse College being one of these and

Howard Thurman of Howard University. Those

were his models.

The Montgomery bus boycott during

his first pastorate in Montgomery in a sense

shook his vocational understanding of where

he was going and what he was to do. He did a

lot of wrestling with all of that, what this

meant for his life.

As a consequence, that in itself


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kept him in the journey and making some

changes. He had not anticipated that he

would become overnight a spokesperson for

liberty and justice, for the gospel in a

particular way, which meant, therefore, he

did a lot of maturing very quickly.

He had an excellent mind, and he --

as he got into the struggle, he began to

recognize more and more what this would

entail. Among those things was his

recognition that the issue of racism and

segregation in the United States was not kind

of a limited affair, it affected economics,

it affected not only human relations itself,

it affected the politics of the nation.

That's obviously the case. It was a

very violent institution, as it still is in

the United States. So this broadened his

whole childhood and then young adulthood

estimation of what racism was about and what

this was going to involve.

Then he also saw this as a life's

vocation, not as kind of a limited kind of

career but was a high calling of God. And


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this matured him in many ways. He was a deep

reader and thinker.

So one saw the way in which his

knowledge of the United States, his knowledge

of the struggle, increased rather rapidly.

His exposure to all kinds of platforms and

radio interviews and television interviews

sharpened up his intellectual ability to not

only analyze the situation but to respond to

a great variety of challenges.

The threats on his life that began

almost immediately in Montgomery made him

very aware of how fragile his life was, but

it also made him profoundly aware of how

dangerous the struggle was and also how he

had to have the spiritual and moral fortitude

to work through it and live through it.

Q. Did you have much conversation with

him or discussion with him in the early and

mid-1960's as he moved to become concerned of

international issues, particularly the war in


A. Oh, yes. In our workshops and staff

meetings and personal conversations he was


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always -- he always had a broad sense of the

whole world. His understanding and

commitment to non-violence was broad also.

In my workshops on non-violence,

which I did with him and around the South

especially for SCLC and for the Fellowship of

Reconciliation, we always included what was

going on especially 1960 in Angola and

Mozambique as an illustration.

I had colleagues in the Methodist

Church who were pastors from those countries,

and they were being thrown in jail by the

Portuguese government with the good wishes of

the CIA in the United States and the

connivance of the State Department and so


So I brought these things into it.

Mondo Mondo Laney was a Ph.D. from

Northwestern University and a Methodist and

one of the organizers of the

self-determination movement in Mozambique.

In my work shops I brought these movements

into the picture so people could understand

what was going on.


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Vietnam, we watched it escalate in

1960. We had any number of staff conferences

in our -- staff meetings, rather, and

retreats. We talked about these matters

steadily. I don't think there was hardly

anyone in SCLC who thought that the Vietnam

escalation was justified or that the

historical situation was one that was

acceptable, either from the point of view of

Christian faith or from the point of view of

Christian non-violence.

In 1965 an international team of

religious leaders decided that they would go

to Southeast Asia to see the situation for

themselves. This included people like Martin

Meamolar (Phonetic), a German war hero of

World War I and then one who resisted Hitler

and was thrown in jail during Hitler's

regime. He was a submarine commander and

Lutheran pastor after World War I. Martin

Meamolar was one of these people who was

concerned about what was going on.

So this international team was

formed and the Fellowship of Reconciliation


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decided they would sponsor it, and they

invited Dr. King to be a part of that team.

He could not go, so he called me and asked me

if I would take his place and then have

conversations with him about this and make my

report, because we were to go as pastors and

religious leaders and then we would make a

report to the nation, to especially the


So I agreed to go, and Centenary

Church here in Memphis gave me extra vacation

time so that I could do it. They thoroughly

supported it. So I went to -- went with this

team instead of Dr. King.

When I returned, I wrote a report

and I sent him a copy of the report, and then

he and I had two or three conversations about


Q. Who was the year of that visit?

A. That was 1965. It was June and July

and then into August of 1965. It was

supposed to be about a month's long, but

because of some of the other things, it took



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For example, when we finished the

tour of Cambodia and Vietnam and Laos and

Thailand, we gathered back in Hong Kong and

then we had an urgent request from the

Council of Churches, the United Methodist

Church, the Anglican Church of Australia,

asking for someone from the team to come and

talk to some of their churches across that

country. And I agreed to be that person.

So this meant I spent an extra seven

days in August every day in a different city

in Australia visiting with churches, usually

a large meeting at night, and then during

their morning and afternoon gatherings of

clergy of all denominations.

Q. Do you remember the evening when he

came formally out against the war in Vietnam?

A. Well, Bill -- Mr. Pepper -- I have

different opinions of this. I do because he

did speak about it in a number of settings.

But the one that caught the attention of the

nation was April the 4th, 1967, where he

agreed to speak at the Riverside Church in

New York with -- under the auspices of clergy


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and laity concerned for the Vietnam War in

Southeast Asia, with people like William M.

Sloancoff and Rabbi Abraham Heschel and a

whole range of some of the best known

Protestant, Jewish, Catholic Jewish people in

the country. That was April 4th, 1967.

Q. That was one year to the day before

he was assassinated. Is that right?

A. Yes, that's correct. One year to a


Q. What was the reaction to that

Riverside Church speech?

A. Well, from the point of view of many

of us, and I read the speech later on, of

course -- in fact, I think it is his most

important and creative speech from the point

of view of spiritual understanding. It is

his most prophetic speech.

The reaction in the press and the

reaction in Washington was intense

hostility. I have since that time read

accounts of some of that hostility, since I

was not in those circles at all, but there

was intense reaction.


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Of course, that reaction was

intensified both in the White House and in

the FBI, I think probably also in the


He was called a traitor. There were

other black leaders in the movement who

castigated him. There was great reaction

against him. There were people who did not

have the broad theological and spiritual

vision that he had. So they felt that he was

getting out of his field.

Q. But he wasn't the a civil rights

person in that sense?

A. He was a pastor, he was a prophet, he

was a preacher, he was a teacher. So he

wasn't out of his field.

Q. It was a much broader field?

A. Yes, sure, but they said, no, you are

confined to civil rights. Well, even that

civil rights question has to be expanded

because Martin King spoke always on much more

than civil rights.

After all, in the Bible, the notion

of justice is an important question, an


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important concept. That was one of his big

words. The word "liberty" is a big word in

the Bible. That was one of his big words in

the movement. I often in my own teaching and

preaching and lecturing insist that our

movement was far more than, quote, a civil

rights movement. We were a movement

concerned for helping this nation purge

itself of a nightmareish part of its history.

Q. Did he express concern to you during

that year of time, the last year of his

life -- now we're in 1967 -- did he express

concern to you during that period of time

about the enemies that he was developing, the

forces of opposition that he was building up

against him, that they were growing and they

were perhaps more lethal than before?

A. Yes. We had a fairly large movement

retreat. I think it was in August of 1967.

It was in our -- as I recall, it was at the

Penn Center, which is a camp and retreat

center owned by the American Friends Service

Committee in South Carolina. We had a

several-day-long retreat there in August.


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The very first day he said, Jim,

let's take some time off and go off by

ourselves and do some talking. So I said,

whatever you say. So we went off one

afternoon. It is a large camp, and you could

walk through the forest and meadows and what


So we went off for along walk. He

talked at length about the way in which he

was getting the full heat of the FBI, he was

getting the full animosity of President


Up to that time president Johnson

and he were in conversations by phone and he

had been in the White House on a number of

occasions, but all of this was stopped. None

of his phone calls to the President were

being responded to for just normal

conversations about issues in relationship to

the movement.

Q. After April 4th, 1967, that

communication between Dr. King and the

President stopped?

A. Yes, that's right, stopped, yeah,


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where formally he had been there, where

formally his phone calls were answered and

responded to by senior staff and by the

president himself, this all ended. He

suddenly became a non-person in the White

House, according to him.

Q. To the best of your personal

recollection, Reverend Lawson, was there an

economic impact upon his organization as


A. Yes, there was. I think that behind

the scenes there was a deliberate effort to

get people not to give financial gifts. A

lot of times a lot of gifts were

spontaneous. SCLC had a direct-mail program,

and Dr. King and others called upon people

individually to give, but oftentimes in the

midst of the struggle there would be a

spontaneous outpouring. That's one of the

ways in which our movement was able to

sustain itself financially, because it didn't


For example, in the sanitation

strike on one occasion we must have received,


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because of Bayind Rustin, who was on the

television show about the sanitation strike,

we must have received, I don't know, dozens

and dozens of mail bags from just around New

England and New York. These bags would

contain note after note, and in almost every

note there was a check that ranged in size

from five dollars to a hundred dollars or two

hundred dollars. These were all for the

sanitation strike.

Of course, it went into the relief

fund, but it took volunteers days to get

through just that one television program

where Bayind Rustin talked about what was

going on. We had to keep the thirteen

hundred workers and their families alive.

They had no money. They were poverty


Q. During this period can you recall

specific acts of harassment or intimidation

or surveillance which you became aware that

were visited upon Dr. King?

A. Well, he told me the death threats at

home and in the office multiplied. That's


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the one I remember the most. I knew at one

time how many such calls about death were

coming to him, but I don't remember that

figure now.

Q. After the declaration of opposition

formally against the war in Vietnam at

Riverside on April 4 of 1967, this country

was on fire during that year, wasn't it?

A. Yes. 1967.

Q. Numbers of cities burned?

A. Yes. I'm trying to remember all the

places, and I don't, but the huge one was

Detroit, Michigan, as I recall, 1967.

Q. That was August?

A. That was August of 1967. But there

were a number of others as well.

Q. What did he view as underlying that

type of unrest and disruption? What did he

see as the cause of that?

A. Well, he knew that -- he felt that a

lot of it was being promoted not simply in

opposition to him and in opposition to

non-violence, but also it was being promoted

by various provocateurs in the country,


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though he did not really name who they might

be, although he suspected that the FBI was

often provoking enmity against him.

Q. When he turned his attention to

economic issues, what was the focus of that

work and what was the analysis that he saw of

the distribution of wealth as it related to

the war in Vietnam?

A. On April the 4th, 1967, one of the

things he said was that the war against

poverty was being struck down in the rice

patties of Southeast Asia. That may be

almost the exact way he put it, as I

remember. But it was in these months, then,

that he was pulling -- tying to pull together

a major effort to call the nation's attention

to the question of poverty.

In 1967 we were talking about how

materialism, militarism, greed, poverty.

Those were in a sense the twin enemies of the

whole movement and that you could not deal

with racism if you did not deal with the

issue of poverty, that you could not deal

with the issue of poverty if you did not deal


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with the issue of militarism.

So these were conversations that

were going on in the movement itself in 1967,

1966 and 1967, because they began much

further than that. I, as one of the teachers

of the movement, made these links clear all

along in various workshops on non-violence

rather persistently. But more and more staff

people were discussing it. I recall

conversations in 1967-- in 1966, rather,

during the Chicago movement, around that vein

of thought.

So it is out of all of that I would

say that goes back to at least 1966 that

began the notion of the Poor People's

Campaign and the notion there was the

possibility of bringing a movement to the

nation's capitol, a non-violent movement,

that would indicate the extent to which the

economic issues, the issues of the violence

of racism and the violence of the society

could be pulled together.

That took greater form, then, in the

fall of 1967, in talking about the Poor


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People's Campaign. That became his

preoccupation. This was really out of his

mind I would say more than anyone else,

because there were lots of folk within SCLC,

within the movement, who said this can't be

done, that you can't have a movement in the

spring and the summer in Washington, D.C.,

that would not become a major catastrophe.

Bayind Rustin and other major folk

in the movement said it was time to take a


Q. Why did they think it would become a

major catastrophe?

A. Because the movement had so much

division within it by this time. You had the

development of the black power group, you had

the development of the Panthers and in places

like Oakland and Kansas City and Chicago and

elsewhere, you had the forces that were

critical of King's denunciation of the

Vietnam War and its escalation.

You always had folk who did not

think direct action was important, that we

should leave it to the lawyers. This was


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certainly the point of view of those in the

NAACP Legal Defense Fund who were never sure

that direct action in terms of a sit-in

movement or the voter's rights movement or

the Birmingham movement, they never -- they

never were persuaded that kind of non-violent

action was possible.

So you had these many different

voices that in my judgment were a part of how

a movement, a social movement, evolves, that

it goes through an evolutionary process where

a lot of conversation and discussion and

struggle is necessary. But this was now more

evident in all of 1967 than at any other


I feel now, looking back, that that

was oftentimes provoked by some of the actual

people who were enemies of Martin King and

enemies of the struggle.

Q. Martin King came to believe that the

Poor People's gathering --

A. Campaign.

Q. -- was a critical undertaking from

what you are saying?


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A. Yes.

Q. When did he decide in 1967 to go

forward with those plans to bring the masses

of poor people to the nation's capitol?

A. I think it was talked about earlier,

but I think that the confirmation came in

December of 1967 when we had a retreat of the

executive staff and of the board of SCLC. I

think that is where the final arguments and

long conversation and intense conversations

took place, and I think it was from there

that King was convinced that he would move

forward to organize and plan the Poor

People's Campaign.

Q. Was there opposition on the board of

his own organization of SCLC to this project?

A. Oh, yes. Oh, yes. There were --

but, you see, some of that opposition, you

have to recognize, was natural opposition

that was -- that would stretch way back. The

idea of non-violent direct action, though it

is not new to America now, it was a major

secret in America then. There have been

other such struggles, but most Americans are


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unaware of them.

So you had clergy on the board who

had no knowledge of this in a sense what can

now be called a people's struggle for

justice, for liberty, for human rights, for

the Bill of Rights, for freedom of religion,

freedom of speech. You had people who had no

awareness of that.

So you always had a certain amount

of opposition to different campaigns. But

then in 1967 you had members of the board who

thought King should leave Vietnam absolutely

alone and should have nothing to say about

it, that it should not be in the

consideration at all for the struggle. So

they felt very strongly about that and made

their opposition very clear. There was

intense verbal struggle, lots of emotion in

those months in the SCLC circles and board

circles and staff circles.

Q. Wasn't the Poor People's Campaign

even more significant in that it went to the

heart of wealth and power in the United

States? He was talking, was he not, about


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the redistribution of wealth in this country?

A. Well, I want to say about that two

things: One is that you have to recognize

that the sociology of the movement up to this

time was mostly in the southeastern states.

I think it is correct to say that you had had

up to this time in the end of 1967 no major

non-violent movement outside of that

southeastern part of the country.

Then you have to recognize that we

had the Chicago movement in 1966, early

1967. There was intense opposition to SCLC

going to Chicago. Some advisors, some of the

people on the board, some of the members of

the staff, felt we had no business doing this

because they said our strength is in the

southeast. But King recognized that we had

to become a national movement.

There was a ardent group of people,

activists of different kinds, in Chicago that

kept urging Dr. King and SCLC to come there.

So the decision was made to go there.

Another part of this was that King recognized

that each movement had to provide a kind of


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confrontation that helped the nation

recognize and see the problem. So in his

mind that confrontation should take place in

the nation's capitol in Washington.

And he, among other things, said

that we will go to Washington and stay until

Congress and the President decide that they

will eradicate poverty in the United States.

I mean, that was one of the statements he


Another kind of statement he made

was that we will pull together the peace

movement and we will shut down the Pentagon

in the summer of 1967. You know, these are

rather phenomenal statements. But these are

some of the things that you can find in his

speeches, in his talks, in his -- as he was

organizing this movement.

So he was going there believing that

it would be possible to basically paralyze

Washington and to paralyze the government

until it faced up to the issue of poverty and

dealt with it.

Q. Don't you believe that that posture


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and those statements could only have

heightened, enormously heightened, the

anxiety of all those in power?

A. I have no doubt. I have no doubt

whatsoever in my own mind, though I do not

know the behind-scenes work of Washington at

all. But I have no doubt that these kinds of

statements raised the anxiety levels in the

White House and elsewhere across Washington.

Q. Do you believe he could have --

A. Remember it is during this period

that J. Edgar Hoover was saying that King was

the number one enemy of the nation. That was

being said.

Q. Jim, do you believe that he could

have brought half a million people into that

setting in Washington with all of the

disparit parts of that movement, all poor,

all stressed and anxious people, that he

could have put that group together without

that gathering turning violent eventually?

A. No, no, I think that with King's

leadership and strength, I think that we

could have had a movement in Washington,


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D.C., that would have been a non-violent

movement fundamentally. After his death, in

fact, it was basically a non-violent

movement. But it was without his presence

and without his leadership at that time. The

Resurrection City did not turn violent.

Q. But it was without the masses?

A. It was without the numbers and

without the power and strength that Martin

King represented. We have to recognize that

in such movement as these, persons become

symbolic leaders, and they are larger than

life in many ways. If you study, for

example, the movement in India with Gandi,

this was the case.

Now King had fundamentally replaced

for the world the Gandi figure, because his

name was known everywhere. I travelled in

India and Africa and Latin America in those

days, Southeast Asia, and Martin King was the

best-known American. I travelled in Europe

for the World Council of Churches. I

represented my denomination in all kinds of

work camps, workshops. I did non-violent


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training in Europe in the 1970's. King was

the best-known name.

Q. With over thirty years of reflection,

though, now, looking at the context of events

then and the violence in the cities

throughout America during 1967, do you

believe that those in power could have so

dreaded this event taking place that they

might have resorted to any means to make sure

that he didn't lead it?

A. Well, I have no doubt about that at

this moment. We've learned more since then.

Here in Memphis, rather, I think in

1993 I think this city was startled when on

the front pages of the Commercial Appeal an

article that I got a copy of, and I have it

still in my files at home, where it was shown

in this investigative peace that Martin King

had been trailed and under the surveillance

of military intelligence night and day

throughout his entire life.

Not just Martin King but that his

father and his grandfather had been under

military intelligence, surveillance, since


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1917, seventy-five years, military

intelligence. Now, this country has never

been informed what that military intelligence

was doing, but they started looking at his

father and his father, A. D. King, during

World War I, because they thought that black

people would be on the side of Kaiser

Wilhelm. How anyone could have that notion

is beyond the realm of my understanding.

Then in World War II they said black

folk would go with the Nazi's. That is such

craziness that racism develops in some white

power structure people. So his family was

under surveillance of the military

intelligence for seventy-five years. This is

now documented.

THE COURT: Mr. Pepper, we're

going to stop here and give the jury a coffee

break. We're coming back in about ten


(Jury out.)

(Short recess.)

(Jury in.)

THE COURT: All right,


(901) 529-1999


Mr. Pepper. We're ready.

MR. PEPPER: Thank you, Your


Q. (BY MR. PEPPER) Reverend Lawson, you

have very patiently taken us from the

beginning of your association with Martin

King and even your own work prior to that up

through his transformation and his maturing

in the 1960's and his declaration of

opposition to the war to his commitment to

the Poor People's Campaign in Washington at a

time when the nation was on fire, anxiety


I'd like us now to move through your

eyes to Memphis, Tennessee, and the

relationship as you see it between the

sanitation workers' strike in this city at

that time in early 1967 and the wider

movement heading toward a massive invasion,

an encampment in Washington, of poor people

from all over the country.

If you would just address the

relationship between the two activities.

Tell us how you see that they related to each


(901) 529-1999



A. Well, Martin King is the one who said

it, because on his first visit here during

the sanitation strike, March 17th or 18th,

when I picked him up at the airport that

night to take him to the mass meeting, one of

the things he said to me is, Jim, you are

doing in Memphis what I hope to do in the

Poor People's Campaign. Then he went on to

talk about linking the economic question to

the question of the racism, poverty issues

and transforming that.

Now, that's a continuation of

conversations out of staff meetings and board

meetings in the 1966, 1967, at least, but he,

in other words, decided that he could come to

Memphis to speak because he recognized that

these thirteen hundred workers were working

for poverty wages and that that was the heart

of the question of racism in many ways.

Slavery was working for nothing,

substainance, food at best, an economic

system which constantly does not want to pay

ordinary people their due for their good and


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essential labor for the society.

So I -- he made that connection for

me in very clear fashion. He saw the Poor

People's Campaign as a way by which we could

bring to the nation's attention to the

necessity of America finally making a

decision that we didn't have to have the kind

of poverty we had because we had more than

enough wealth and we had more than enough

work, and that the work should allow people

to gain the wherewithal to take care of their

own basic necessities.

Q. Before he entered the fray here in

Memphis in support of the sanitation workers'

strike, that dispute became very evident and

indeed disruptive of civic life?

A. You mean the sanitation strike


Q. The sanitation workers strike.

A. Yes.

Q. Can you give us the background,

because you were in the middle of that at the


A. Well, the sanitation workers, of


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course, were all city employees, but they

never received any kind of just remuneration

or opportunity for advancement, and the

segregation in the department was rampant.

Oftentimes these men were humiliated

in their workplace, harassed in their

workplace. T. O. Jones and a handful of

people had for about six years been trying to

organize this group of thirteen hundred

people into an effective union and working

people's organization whereby they could

collectively improve their situation, their

work situation. That had always -- that had

for the most part was a hard uphill struggle

all the time, but it proved to be successful

on February 12th, I think it was in 1968,

when all thirteen hundred workers walked off

the job, fed up with what they had to put up

with for so many years.

One of the things that had provoked

them at that time was the death of two of

their colleagues who during a storm sat in

one of the huge trucks, and the mechanism had

a failure, and they were crushed. Part of


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their complaint was the fact that when it

rained or snowed, they either had to work in

the snow or go home without pay. They needed

every hour of work they could obtain.

White supervisors in the department

could go back to the barns and drink coffee

and play cards and would get paid for the

entire day, but these ordinary people on the

trucks lifting the cans and all did not, and

there were no health benefits. Safety was an

issue for them, the hazard of the job


So when these two men were killed,

that stirred a great deal of anger and

courage. So they almost unanimously walked

off the job together without any plan of any


In February you don't have a

sanitation strike. You do it in July. They

hadn't talked to the international union or

anybody. I mean, they made the decision

themselves. Their anger in fact motivated

them to have the courage to do it, so they

did it.


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Well, that created consternation in

the community, in the city as a whole. Mayor

Henry Loeb immediately said it was illegal

and they had to go back to work. They asked

for negotiations and conversations which he

for the most part declined.

When the strike began, I immediately

supported them and began to raise offerings

in my congregation because I knew they would

need food and would have to be helped. Other

clergy did that rather spontaneously also.

So a sizable group of us supported their

demands for change from the very beginning.

But the mood of the city was that the strike

is illegal and they had no business doing

it. So what happened was that you therefore

had a stalemate and a confrontation.

Q. How did Martin King become involved

in that dispute?

A. Well, a variety of us went to the

meetings with the workers and we had been to

help them in various ways. The international

union did not abandon them in spite of the

fact that there was no foresight in this.


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They came in and worked with them and tried

to work with the rest of us as well.

We tried to work very hard to get

the city council and the mayor to make an

agreement and settle the strike. In a series

of meetings with various people of the city

council and in a series of meetings in the

community with some businessmen behind the

scenes working on it as well and a variety of

clergy working on it behind the scenes, we

thought we had an agreement where -- I can't

remember the exact name of the committee, but

Councilman Davis chaired perhaps a labor

committee or something like that. They had a

big hearing in city hall. They agreed that

they would propose an easy settlement of the


We agreed that we would then come

back the next two or three days or the next

councilmanic meeting for this settlement to

be announced. It was to be at city hall

after a few days. Then we got word that the

meeting would not be at city hall because of

the size, with many of us coming to the


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meeting, and it was announced in the civic


When we arrived that morning at the

civic auditorium there were perhaps eleven,

twelve hundred people in all. Some of the

city council people had come onto the

platform. The lights were on, a microphone

was available. They made the announcement

that the council had decided that they would

leave the matter in the hands of Mayor Loeb.

So the agreement the previous days

was faulted by the city council. After this

announcement was made, the lights in the

civic auditorium were all turned off, and

they as much said the meeting is over.

Well, that created a storm in this

crowd, angry cries and all. A few of the

clergy and a couple of the union --

international union leaders, Jerry Worth in

particular, we rushed to the platform and

tried to get people to sit down and be calm

and cool. There was no microphone, so we had

to shout. But we managed to bring some



(901) 529-1999


We requested the civic auditorium to

turn the lights back on and give us a mic so

we could sit there and have a meeting and try

to manage this. In the process of that

effort, we did manage to get people directed

and get their energy directed, and we decided

that we would walk in mass in the street from

the civic auditorium down I guess it is Main

Street past City Hall and to Mason Temple.

A couple of the leaders, I don't

remember who specifically, quickly got

Commissioner of Fire & Police Holloman on the

phone and got his permission that we could

walk in a non-violent fashion down the


So we announced this and directed

the people go onto Main Street out the front

doors and to gather and then we would proceed

down the street and we said we have the

permission of the city to do it. The

commissioner of the fire and police issues

permits for such a thing, such events in


So we got it started and organized.


(901) 529-1999


Many of the stewards, many of the leaders and

the clergy, in an orderly fashion we started

on what would be Main, south on that street,

I guess. Yes, it would be south on Main

Street. Well, after we had gone about two

blocks away from Poplar, out of nowhere

appeared police cars, a whole line of police


We were walking on the right side of

the street going south, and these cars came

from the side streets onto Main Street and

rolled up all along side of us so that there

was a long line of police cars perhaps the

length of the walk. We were a peaceful

march. Then I noticed some of the cars

coming over the yellow line and trying to

intimidate some of us walking. I was towards

the front of the March.

As I always do in a demonstration, I

try to keep my eyes on whatever is going on

as far as the whole business to the best of

my ability. So I turned around and went to a

couple of the police cars and said, now,

look, we have Holloman's permission to walk,


(901) 529-1999


you guys are just trying to provoke an

incident, so stay where you are, stay on that

side of the line.

Then a second time they moved over,

and some of the sanitation workers put their

hands on the car, the police car, as though

to push it back, and I saw this from the side

of my eyes, and I rushed back again a few

steps and again told the sanitation workers

to leave it alone and to go ahead and walk.

They said, well, they are

deliberately doing it. I said, I know, they

are trying to make us break up, they are

trying to find an excuse to stop us. Then it

happened again and they moved over on the

marchers. This time the sanitation workers

put their hands on the car, and like that the

police cars all up and down that line

stopped. They were all filled with


These officers poured out of the

cars with cans of mace and proceeded to mace

everybody they could mace. They had some

targets. They dragged off two or three


(901) 529-1999


people, I don't remember how many. People

like Jerry Worth were given a full dose of

it. I had glasses on, and so they are macing

me in the face.

I stayed on my feet and kept

blinking my eyes rapidly. I got it into the

eyes and I tried to cry so that my eyes would

keep washing it out. The march was broken up

in that fashion. I realized that they had

planned to do it.

I don't think Holloman had planned

that to happen. I don't believe he did at

all. But the officers in the field decided

we were not going to march down to Mason


So most people scattered. A few

people were arrested. But some of us

remained on the scene. So I suggested to

those of us who were around, let's continue,

we will walk on the sidewalk and we'll go on

to Mason Temple.

So as a consequence, we went --

probably fifty, sixty of us we managed to

stay together and we walked on the sidewalks


(901) 529-1999


and went on to Mason Temple.

By the time we got there, people

were coming from all directions, and lots and

lots of clergy were descending on it. At

that point we had a major community meeting

that said that this was deliberate and we

must organize ourselves to resist in every

way we can and to see to it that this strike

was successful.

At that meeting, then, a strategy

committee was appointed made up of

representative people in the community and

folk from the union. I had to leave because

I had some hospital calls that were urgent,

because this was about six o'clock, seven

o'clock, now at night. So I left the meeting

before it concluded. But I was asked to be a

member of the committee.

After I made my hospital calls and

all and got back home probably nine, ten

o'clock that night, I had a call, a phone

call, as I recall, from Harold Middlebrook,

one of the ministers in the city, who said,

Jim, the committee was formed and you, of


(901) 529-1999


course, know you are on the committee, but

the meeting asked that you become chair of

the strategy committee and call the

meetings. I said, okay.

I started organizing things. We had

a meeting that Monday. This might have been

a Friday. I called an immediately a meeting

that Monday. We called at the meeting the

members of the committee as Harold

Middlebrook gave me their names during the

weekend, and at that meeting we had our first

strategy meeting about how do we mobilize our

community to really now stay behind this,

because this is a serious struggle, what the

police did was unwarranted.

In that meeting we decided let's

begin mass meetings. So we began planning

and called mass meetings that very week, that

is, a mass meeting being a gathering

usually -- not usually, but gathering in a

church. This was a common model that we used

throughout the 1960's in the South.

Then we said we will bring in some

national spokespeople. We mentioned Roy


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Wilkins, Bayind Rustin, a number of names,

Martin King. So we made assignments to

different people that worked with different

names to get them there immediately for mass


Of course, because of my ongoing

connection with Dr. King, I was asked to

contact Dr. King. I did almost immediately

and asked him to come to Memphis.

In our first conversation I briefed

him on the march. He knew about it already,

of course, because it was in the news. He

agreed immediately that he would come, but,

of course, he also said, you know my

schedule, I have to negotiate with it. I

understood that readily and easily and told

him, well, you name the date and we'll be

ready for you when you name the date.

So we left off that phone call with

his telling me that you keep in touch with

me, if I'm not available, talk to Ralph

Abernathy. I talked to Ralph, and we left it

with that. He and I pretty much stayed in

touch until he gave me the date of March 17th


(901) 529-1999


or 18th, I don't remember exactly. I didn't

look it up. That is when he was coming.

So that's how he got involved. And

he was invited as a spokesperson, he was

invited as who he was, as a symbol, and he

was invited also because from my perspective

the sanitation strike was a part of the

movement up to that time.

Q. How did he see this in relation to

the Poor People's Campaign that was to

descend upon Washington later that spring?

A. Well, the executive staff of SCLC was

very much opposed to him changing his

schedule to come, but he insisted that the

sanitation strike was an economic struggle in

part and that he would nevertheless do it.

The way he compromised with them was

that in some of our planning meetings, we'll

just have one of our planning meetings in

Memphis, which means that we can do it there

just as easily as in Atlanta or in Jackson,

Mississippi, so we'll have an executive

committee meeting.

When they arranged that executive


(901) 529-1999


committee meeting, I suppose that King made

the decision that he decided it would be in

Memphis and brought the executive committee

meeting to meet in Memphis I think on that

Tuesday. It was the Monday that we had the

mass meeting when they came to town. Then I

think they met the next day as the executive

committee planning the Poor People's


Q. So some of the planning took place

here in Memphis?

A. A lot of the planning took place here

in Memphis then because not only did they

have those meetings here, but then also they

decided that Memphis would become the

starting point for the caravan of poor people

that would go -- that would caravan to

Washington. It was decided that Memphis

would become the launching point for the Poor

People's Campaign.

Q. When he arrived on March 17th to

Memphis, do you recall where he stayed, what

hotel he went to?

A. He stayed at the Rivermont. Now, I


(901) 529-1999


want to add to that that this was not the

first time Martin King had been in Memphis.

He had been in Memphis for a number of

different things, for the National Baptist

Convention, for SCLC board meetings. So

Memphis was not a strange place for his

coming here.

I can say something more than that.

In 1966 in June James Meredith started his

march against fear into Mississippi. James

Meredith was the first black man to be

enrolled in the school of -- in the law

school at the university, in Ole Miss. So he

decided to try to help break the fear that

was in Mississippi among many, many black

people registering to vote or any kind of

participation in trying to change their

situation, that he would do this one-man

march. But he was shot just outside of

Memphis in Hernando, Mississippi.

I was in my office in the church I

think it was the Monday that he was shot and

immediately had a call from Martin King who

said, have you heard about Jim Meredith being


(901) 529-1999


shot? I said, yes. He asked me if I knew

how he was. I said I didn't know but I knew

the hospital he went to.

So he asked me if I would go make a

call on him immediately on his behalf and my

behalf, a pastoral call, and then say to him

that he felt that we should not permit his

shooting to stop his march, his injury to

stop his march, and that some of us would

come on the next day and pick up where he was

shot and continue walking down the highway in


So I agreed with that and said that

was -- felt that was absolutely right for our

strategy. Then I immediately made

connections with the hospital and with Jim

Meredith's lawyer, attorney, who was a member

of my church and a trustee in my church, A.

W. Willis. So A. W. Willis immediately

called his client and paved the way for me to

go on to the hospital and see him.

So that afternoon I went to the

hospital, had prayer with him and talked and

visited with him and told him about King's


(901) 529-1999


call and that King would come to see him the

next day. And he agreed to all of that and

so forth.

So the next morning I picked Martin

King up at the airport. As I drove up to the

airport -- we had a Dodge station wagon. By

this time we had three young children. My

wife and our sons were visiting in East

Tennessee with her parents, so I was alone

that week, and so I had the station wagon,

and I drove it up to the airport. As I got

to the departure concourse at the airport,

the departure lane, I noticed two

well-dressed black men on that patio, and as

they saw me pull up, they walked towards the

car and said, Reverend Lawson, you can park

there and just leave it there, we talked to

the police, airport police, and it is okay.

That is the first time that had ever

happened to me. They then came up to the car

and introduced themselves. Then they said,

the Commissioner of Fire & Police Claude

Armour has detailed some of us who are

homicide detectives and robbery detectives


(901) 529-1999


and we have been instructed that any time

Martin King, Dr. King, comes to this city, we

will see to it that he is secure.

Then he went on to say that if you,

Reverend Lawson, will cooperate with us when

he comes into town, if Dr. King will

cooperate with us, he said, we can assure you

that nothing will ever happen to Dr. King

when Dr. King is in this city.

So from that time on, whenever he

came to Memphis, that group of homocide

detectives and other detectives were relieved

of all other duty. They gave him

twenty-four-hour surveillance. They talked

to his office and him about where you will be

safest, where are the places he could be most


So he mostly stayed at the Admiral

Benbow I think on Poplar and at the Rivermont

at their suggestion most of the time.

Q. One of those officers has testified

before this court --

A. Okay.

Q. -- about the removal of security in


(901) 529-1999


the local conspiracy side of this case


Are you aware of other instances

where that team was formed to protect Martin

King when he came to Memphis?

A. Well, don't recall them all, but I'm

well aware that this happened more than once,

because I know specifically Memphis became

the organizing place for this March, then,

through Mississippi, and my congregation, my

church, became the center of it. We set up

headquarters there, which meant, therefore,

that I had to put into operation expanded

phone lines and all of that, office space, so

that we could do it.

It also meant that Dr. King made

frequent calls when he came into Memphis to

join the march, because this was the best

airport site, and, therefore, I do recollect

that any number of times that detail was

assigned to his care.

Q. Are you aware of your own personal

knowledge and recollection whether or not

that detail was formed on his last fatal


(901) 529-1999


visit to Memphis?

A. No. I happen to know afterwards that

that detail was not organized on his April

3rd visit to -- April 3rd, 1968, visit to

Memphis. They were not assigned.

Q. His second visit, next visit to

Memphis, after March 17th and 18th, was to

lead a march on the 28th --

A. Of March.

Q. -- of March?

A. Yes.

Q. Would you just briefly describe what

you recall about that visit and that march

which took place about a week before he was


A. Yes. When he spoke the Monday night

of the 17th or the 18th, you should remember

that this was the largest such mass meeting

that had occurred in the movement up to that

time in the southeast. Because in the

Southern states we had no public places to

meet. We couldn't meet in a high school

auditorium. We couldn't meet in a high

school stadium.


(901) 529-1999


So when we had mass meetings, these

were exclusively in black churches, and we

did not have sizable church sanctuaries for

huge meetings. In Birmingham in 1963, in

order to try to accommodate the need for mass

meetings, we would have meetings, mass

meetings, the same evening in five, six,

seven churches all around the city. And Dr.

King and Dr. Abernathy would have to go to

all five of those places and speak. They

would end up one or two o'clock in the

morning finishing those mass meetings. This

was in Birmingham. We had no Mason Temple.

I told Dr. King from the beginning

that in Memphis we have sizable church

sanctuaries, but we have the Church of God in

Christ Mason Temple which will seat eight

thousand people and another five thousand

people can stand in the huge aisles easily

and then with a big parking lot.

The night he spoke, we probably had

twenty-five thousand people jam-packed in the

building and in the parking lot. It was a

magnificent experience. But that was the


(901) 529-1999


largest mass meeting in the movement in the

Southeastern states that Martin King had

spoken in. It was an extraordinary

experience, and after he finished speaking,

members of the executive committee of SCLC

went to him and said we should come back and

march with them.

He called me over and said, what

would it be like, Jim, if I decided to come

back for a march? I said, wonderful, as far

as we're concerned. Then he said, well,

let's do it. He went back, then, and I

suggested to him he go back to the podium and

announce this. Of course, it was met with

thunderous approval.

Q. What happened, Jim, on that March on

the 28th?

A. All right. So on that march Dr. King

and the folk who came with him were late in

arriving. As I remember, we were supposed to

start the march at ten. They did not get

there for varied reasons until eleven. And

against my better judgment, I went ahead and

started. I won't go into all that because


(901) 529-1999


that is another whole story.

We went ahead and started, but as we

proceeded down Hernando Street to Beale

Street, I saw that already there was no

differentiation between those of us in the

street and those on the sidewalks. It was

not very orderly, from my perspective. But

at the urging of others, we went ahead and

did it. So we hit Beale Street and then

turned on Beale Street towards Main Street.

The block just before Main Street, I

heard what I thought to be maybe windows

shattering behind me. I was the marshal for

the march, so I was up in front. But a group

of other marshals, all clergy, were about a

block in front of me. But the crowd was

everywhere. When I heard that, I grabbed

another marshal and asked him to go back and

see what was going on and see if he could

stop whatever it was and urged the marshals

to become stronger in pushing the march into

the street.

Then I asked Assistant Chief of

Police Lux, who had joined me in the street


(901) 529-1999


for a few moments, for a bullhorn, which he

quickly procured for me. As I turned the

corner at Main Street and looked ahead, I

heard again what I thought to be some windows

shattering behind me, but as I looked ahead

on Main Street, in the next block and the

next block, I was struck by, one, that in the

second block ahead there were people on the

street busting windows, but, more importantly

there was a phalanx of police officers, I do

not know how deep, in battle gear, helmets,

shields, face shields, all across Main


When I turned that corner, they were

there two blocks ahead. They were doing

nothing to stop whoever it was busting

windows right next to them. I said to

myself, well, they are there in order to

break up the march again. I said, their

target will be Dr. King, Martin King.

So I ran up to our group of

marshals, which was about a block ahead of

me, and said to them, I want you to stop at

an intersection, I think I said, which was


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about a half a block away from the phalanx of

police. I said, I'm going to stop the march,

I'm going to ask Dr. King to leave the area,

and I want you to stand and turn to face us.

I'm going to turn the march around. I want

you to be the last group coming back down the

street and we'll go back to the church and

we'll disburse.

So I rushed back, then, to the first

line of the marchers, which Dr. King was in

the center, and I said to him, Martin, the

police are up ahead, they plan to break us up

and you are going to be their target and I

don't want you to be here. He protested.

Ralph Abernathy was on one side of him and

Bishop Smith, a CME bishop, was on the other

side of him, and Henry Starks, an AME

minister, was in the group there, and they

all agreed with my analysis immediately.

So I said, I know that you don't

want to do this, I said, but I want you to

leave, because I don't want them to get to

you. I asked them then to go down McCall. I

asked Henry to take Bishop Smith and Dr. King


(901) 529-1999


to McCall Street and go back to the Rivermont

Hotel. I used the bullhorn to tell the rest

of the marchers to turn around and go back to

the church where we're going to disburse. I

added that the police are planning to use

their nightsticks and mace and what not on

us, they are going to break us up, so let's

go back.

So in that spirit they turned around

in the street and we proceeded to make our

way back. I moved through the march with the

bullhorn making this same announcement until

I reached Beale Street. Then I went back up

Beale Street again to continue making that

announcement. We had an orderly return to

the church. Some people stayed at the

church, but others went on to their cars and

went home per what we suggested people do.

By this time I could see on Beale

Street and Main Street havoc going on, mayhem

going on, people busting up windows and what

not, and the police very energetic in beating

people up and dragging them through the

streets. That police activity went on all


(901) 529-1999


afternoon. There are lots and lots of

witnesses to that.

They used it as a pretense. They

beat up Vietnam veterans who were having

breakfast five blocks away. They beat up

Harold Whalum, who was an insurance

businessman well-known in the city. He was

some blocks away. They broke his skull and

so forth. He was not doing anything but

walking to his car.

Q. To your recollection, was that the

first march or non-violent demonstration

which Dr. King participated in which you were

associated with certainly that turned


A. Well, let me say it another way. We

had demonstrations where other people were

violent toward us. The marches in

Mississippi, the marches in St. Augustine,

Florida, for an example, where we had

deputized posse sometimes on horses throwing

stones, beating up on us and what not. So

the violence came then.

At this time what I want to say is


(901) 529-1999


very clear, and I'll write this in my memoirs

one day, that it was the police violence that

provoked this. There were probably

provocateurs who did the looting.

We learned later from our pictures

and community photographers that many of the

looters were Beale Street professionals who

told our people that you dried up downtown,

so you stopped us from working, that is,

pickpockets who had no crowds on Main Street,

for an example. I was astonished at this.

We had many pictures, we had many leaders,

many block workers, who went through all

those pictures the next several days,

pictures of looters and what not, trying to

identify them for ourselves so that we could

see what happened, what went on.

Q. Were you aware of the presence of

out-of-state people at that time?

A. At that time I was not aware, but

I'll never forget -- I don't know if I would

recognize him today, but I'll never forget

one young man who I had never seen before, I

tried to appeal to him. He was rabblerousing


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about this isn't the way you can get anything

done. Well, I spotted that immediately. One

of the marshals told me before the march

began. So I went to him.

I went to the corner where he was

rabblerousing and pulled his shirttail and

asked him please to stop, that if he had a

different theory, then he ought to take it

someplace else, but if he was going to be on

the march, he should try to carry out the

leadership of the community and not go his

own way.

Q. Why did Martin King come back to

Memphis after this march, this disruption,

why did he come back to Memphis for the last


A. Well, because we had a principle in

the non-violent movement. It went like

this: We will not injure you, but we will

absorb your injury of us because the cycle of

violence must be broken. And if we respond

to your violence with violence, then all you

do is escalate the violence. We want the

cycle of violence in America and racism


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stopped. So we will take it on ourselves, we

will not dish it out in kind.

The second issue that was important

to us, we said, was that when the enemies

proceed to do violence against us, we must

not let their violence stop our movement.

That had become kind of a cardinal notion in

the movement all across the South.

So as an example, when the freedom

rides in 1961 hit bus burnings and vigorous

assaults, the KKK and even the police in

places like Montgomery, Alabama, all across

the movement, we said, well, the freedom ride

will continue. I myself went to Montgomery

and was in the first bus from Montgomery to

Jackson, Mississippi, where we were

arrested. We said we cannot permit violence

to stop us.

Dr. King said I know that the

non-violent movement can have a non-violent

march in Memphis. So we will do it. He was

quite determined to show himself and us and

the nation that the movement could have a

non-violent movement.


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Q. So he returned to Memphis on the 3rd

of April to have that follow-up March, a

successful non-violent March?

A. A non-violent March, right, to better

organize it and everything else.

Q. What can you tell us about that last

visit to Memphis and what took place, your

personal recollection, up to the time of his


A. Let's see. Martin King came in I

think the 2nd or the 3rd. I don't recall

precisely. But one of the major issues when

he came into the city was the fact that city

government had taken a -- had gotten a city

court injunction against our marching.

Very much in the movement, in the

leadership of the movement, we had made the

determination that when a city took an

injunction against us, we would initially

take it to federal court and try to get it

overturned. If we could not get it

overturned, we would march anyway.

So when that injunction was taken

out that early part of that week, I called


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him and let him know about it and told him I

was putting together lawyers to go to the

federal court and challenge it and see if we

could get it reversed.

So when he came in, first on our

minds was that injunction that named the

movement in Memphis, Dr. King, Jim Lawson and

others. As I recall, that's the way the

injunction was written. So that meant, among

other things, being on the strategy

committee, that I had to be the witness in

court for Memphis, in the federal court. And

Dr. King named Andrew Young to be his witness

and spokesperson for SCLC.

So we organized lawyers to challenge

the injunction. We had meetings with them

that week. And then when Martin came in, one

of the first meetings we had was with the

lawyers and Dr. King.

Bill, I hope you'll understand --

Mr. Pepper, I hope you'll understand that I

use "Dr. King" and "Martin," but, remember,

we had an eleven-year or so friendship and it

was always "Jim" and "Martin" --


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Q. Sure. No, that's fine. Of course.

A. -- on every situation. So that was

the day. So on April the 3rd we had a

meeting at Centenary United Methodist Church

where he spoke to clergy. We had a mass

meeting planned that night at Mason Temple

April the 3rd. In mid-day or mid-afternoon

on that April the 3rd, it began to storm in a

typically Memphis rainstorm. I have

experienced no such storms like that in Los

Angeles. But it began raining maybe three or

four o'clock. This was not off-and-on

raining. It was a steady downpouring the

rest of that day.

Of course, Martin and Ralph

Abernathy were to speak in Mason Temple, but

with that rain, when I went to pick them up,

and I agreed I was going to pick them up, it

was still pouring rain, and Dr. King was

convinced no one would show up at that Mason

Temple with all that rain. Ralph and I could

not dissuade him.

Finally, the three of us agreed that

Ralph and I would go on to the meeting, and


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if we felt that Martin had to come to the

meeting, then one of us would get him on the

phone and call him back, that he would stay

in the motel for the time being, but when he

got his call from us, that he would come on

over. So that's the way we left it. We went

to the meeting. Of course, in the downpour,

probably by this time four thousand, five

thousand people, had gathered.

They were, of course, obviously

there to listen to Dr. King, not to me or not

to Abernathy or to anybody else. And so

shortly after we got there and sensed the

meeting, I think Ralph was the one that went

to the phone and called Martin and asked him

to come on. And he came.

Q. And delivered his last speech?

A. And delivered that last speech in

Mason Temple. That was an extraordinary

experience, too. I've never been in a

meeting like that before.

Q. Did you see him at all the next day,

which was the last day of his life?

A. I saw him on my way to the federal


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court. March the 4th was when we were having

the hearing against the injunction. I went

by the motel to visit with him briefly to go

to court. And that was actually the last

time I saw him.

Q. So you didn't see him after that.

What time of day was that?

A. This was about nine o'clock. I think

court was to open at nine or something like


Q. Where were you when he was


A. I was in court until about -- I got

the judge to excuse me around two o'clock

after I testified. I went back to our

movement office in order to check phone calls

and check the strategy of the march and do

any other kind of business that needed to be


Then by about five-thirty probably I

started making my way home, because Dorothy

and I had a solemn sort of covenant that no

matter what was going on in our lives, that

we would gather for supper around six with


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the boys and eat as leisurely as we could.

Then if I had to go back out, I went back


So I moved on to home. Shortly

after I got home, close to six o'clock, there

was a television set on in an alcove off the

dining room, and I heard something about

someone being shot, and I was in the kitchen

greeting Dorothy when I heard that over the

television. I went to the alcove to see if I

could find out what that was, and as I did

so, then they flashed a kyrin on the bottom,

writing on the television set, saying Dr.

King has been shot at the Lorraine Motel,

then another kyrin that said he was being

rushed to St. Joseph Hospital.

I immediately turned and told

Dorothy what that was and had said, look, you

will need to -- I will rush to the radio

stations to make comments to keep the

community moving in the right direction. You

should get ahold of Holloman and tell him

that I'm breaking the curfew, because I'll be

moving from place to place -- and that is


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Frank Holloman, commissioner of fire and

police -- and tell him that he is to be sure

that I had access to move about the city

while this is happening.

THE COURT: Give me five


(Brief interruption.)

Q. (BY MR. PEPPER) Jim, from that day to

this have you been concerned about how Martin

King was assassinated?

A. Yes. Almost immediately there were

things that troubled me about the

assassination. I learned within the next

day, next twenty-four hours, that his normal

security group from the police department had

not been assigned.

I learned that one or two firemen,

and I've not tried to check on these details,

but one or two fire then who were in the fire

station across the street katty-cornered from

the motel, black firemen, were transferred

from that station in ways that at least those

firemen thought was unusual. They contacted

me and Ralph Jackson and one or two others


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about their removal. They were not what they

considered to be normal removals. The fire

station let's say was over here and the motel

here. It had clear vision.

I learned that Ed Redditt, who was

on surveillance from the fire station, was

moved an hour before. I learned that patrol

cars that were in the region when he was

there patrolling on Mulberry and Main and

what not suddenly disappeared, were nowhere

to be found.

I discovered that on April the 4th,

the night of that day, that there was on the

police band the notice of a white Mustang

fleeing the city in the north who got away.

There was never any explanation of how that

call got on the police band. Ostensibly it

was accessible only to the police.

Well, now I know that there were two

white Mustangs. I've met the drivers of both

of them quite some time ago. The one driver

was James Earl Ray. I visited him in

prison. I can't remember the name of the

other driver, but I sat in an airport in


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Nashville two or three years ago with the

second driver of the second white Mustang,

and he told me who he was, why he was in

Memphis and whose car this belonged to. We

know now that there were two white Mustangs

in Memphis on the April the 4th evening.

These questions were never answered

to my satisfaction. I pondered them. I

wondered why when Martin King had stayed more

often in the Admiral Benbow and in the

Rivermont, I wondered where this letter came

from or where this report in the newspaper

came from about why is this civil rights

leader not staying in the perfectly good

negro motel, why is he staying at that white

motel. I wondered about that.

I wondered how they had two or three

different names for whoever they were

seeking, how did that go on? What was that

about? Then when they captured James Earl

Ray and they came to the prison, they fixed

up -- they had him in the county jail, and

they fixed up a special cell with

twenty-four-hour surveillance, no privacy,


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twenty-four-hour lights. He had no privacy

whatsoever. He complained.

I kick myself now that I did not go

down to the county jail and talk to William

Morris about why this was going on. It

reminded me of something quite specific. It

reminded me of the brainwashing that our GI's

had in the Korean War.

I'm a heavy reader, and I have

followed much of public life for over fifty

years in all kinds of newspapers, magazines

in the nation, news magazines, magazines of

all kinds. I've read Newsweek, for example,

for over fifty years. I started in junior

high school. So I've observed these things.

When I saw this, I was astonished.

I said to myself, what is going on here?

This is the man, why are they torturing him.

That was brainwashing from Korean experience

according to the things I read from our

GI's. If they've got the evidence about him,

why not just simply go to trial.

Then when they had the

plea-bargaining business, I said to myself,


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here is this justice system, the most

important American perhaps other than the

President of the United States has been

killed, and they are going to have a

plea-bargaining instead of a full-scale trial

so that a court of law can tell us, can give

us a full transcript of what that murder is


So these things bewildered me and

made me upset. As I said, I fault myself

that I did not take up the cudgels in

especially 1968, the end of 1968, 1969, when

James Earl Ray was petitioning the court for

relief from this treatment that was making

him sick, keeping him from being able to

sleep, therefore keeping him from being able

to deal with what was going on and what he

needed to do for his own defense.

Q. Have you maintained your interest

down to the present day --

A. Oh, yes.

Q. -- in respect of this case and

efforts, your efforts?

A. Yes. I followed the Congressional


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hearings in the late 1970's or whenever that

was. I talked with Congressman Walter

Fountroy, who was the chairperson of the King

investigation, visited him in his office.

I talked with him, I talked to some

of their -- I guess their investigators by

phone. I was called before that

Congressional committee. But when they were

putting my session in executive session, I

declined, because I felt that if you are

going to have hearings on this important

matter, they should be public.

Q. Will you explain to the jury and the

court what "executive session" means?

A. An executive session meant there with

be no public there, no newspaper, just the

committee asking the questions and just the

witness. They wanted to question me under

executive conditions.

I frankly told the committee -- I

went in and told the committee that I

wouldn't testify under those circumstances.

I think this was too important a matter for

them to hold execute sessions.


(901) 529-1999


Q. Did you form any personal opinions

yourself with all of your concerns and your

consideration of this case?

A. Well, especially in the 1970's when I

went and visited James Earl Ray in prison,

which I did do. I had read all along the FBI

scenarios that James Earl Ray was a racist.

Well, when I visited with him the first

couple of visits I could not discern that he

was racist any more than any of the rest of

us are racists.

As a black man, I think in my

relationships with all kinds of people I can

discern and have been able to discern when

people are in trouble from their prejudices

and bigotries. It is not only in their eyes

but it is in their face, it is in their

language. I did not catch any of that from

James Earl Ray.

In comparing notes with people like

Ralph Abernathy and Jessie Jackson and Dick

Gregory, they all said that in their visits

with him, they could not discern that he was

a racist. I think that group of men would be


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a better judge of who is a racist from close

up than anyone else, certainly better than

the FBI.

So that gave me some grief, because

it just seemed to me the motivation they were

putting up was absolutely wrong. Of course,

I continued to have relationships with James

Earl Ray and was at his funeral, I married

him in jail, I visited him within the last

couple of weeks of his death, had about an

hour and a half long visit with him. It was

a pastoral visit. I prayed with him. I read

scripture to him. I was just convinced that

the man was not a racist.

Q. Finally, Jim, this action in civil

court, this civil court proceeding here, is a

conspiracy and a wrongful death action. It

concerns a family who have lost a husband and

a father.

A. Right.

Q. But because of who that husband and

father was, it is not -- it doesn't stop

there in terms of a loss to the nation.

Could you just finally summarize for us what


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you think is the loss to this Republic of

Martin Luther King.

A. Well, from my point of view in the

1960's Dr. King was the Moses of this

generation and for America. He was a prophet

for the nation. He was the centerpiece of a

movement that was emerging. And the work --

the movement had not yet matured in spite of

the controversy within the struggle, which

was natural.

King was the central voice for the

black people of America with no one close to

representing what he represented for us. You

can go back and search the national studies

of that matter. Ninety-eight percent of

black people in America said that King

represents us. No one was close to ten

percent to that.

So in spite of all the

controversies, then and since, he was the

architect of the movement. And the movement

was at a critical place. We knew that we had

to redirect our energies.

In 1967 he and I had several


(901) 529-1999


conversations about the need for a

moratorium. We had agreed after one of our

conversations in December that after the Poor

People's Campaign we're going to call off all

demonstrations among ourselves and we're

going to take six or eight months to

restructure and reorganize.

He and I had agreed in that meeting

at the staff and the board in December where

we talked at length about this that we would

continue our conversations in 1968 through

the Poor People's Campaign and then

afterwards SCLC was going to take a major

leap forward for the purpose of


We didn't have a national movement

yet. We had had cosmetic changes that were

important, the Civil Rights Bill of 1964, the

Voters' Rights Bill of 1965, the anti-poverty

program. There were a whole slough of things

that were happening. But the structures of

the injustice and cruelty had not yet been

challenged and had not yet really begun to

change. These still have not changed.


(901) 529-1999


So we were at a critical point. In

my judgment the assassination of Martin King

and the assassinations of the 1960's,

including the assassination of Malcom X,

meant that the movement did not have the

chance to go to the next stage. And young

men like King and Malcom X and some others

represented emerging leadership that would

have been able to help the movement and the

nation do some major reform.

Q. Has that leadership ever been


A. No, of course not. The

assassinations of the 1960's changed the

nation forever. We are worse off in many

ways than ever before.

Right now we have nearly forty

million impoverished people in our country.

Two hundred babies die every day in America

before they are one year old because they do

not have the access to the nourishment they

need in order to live. These are white

babies, these are black babies, these are

Latino babies. These are babies from many


(901) 529-1999


different walks of life, and they are babies

of every state of the union. That is


Q. And of every color and complexion?

A. Of every color and complexion.

Q. So was he not in fact the leading

spokesman and advocate for the wretched of

the earth?

A. Yes, exactly. Exactly. America has

never been able to deal with the issue of

slavery, never been able to deal with the

issue of the oppression of women, never been

able to deal with the issue of the notion

that even today many huge business people

have mainly that a lot of people ought to

work and not make living wages.

These are three major issues that

this nation has been unable to face. They've

not been able to deal with the violence with

which we maintain this status quo that hurts

and maims many souls.

The movement was aimed at reversing

that. King's motto was, the SCLC motto, it

was not civil rights, it was redeem the soul


(901) 529-1999


of America. That was our motto.

So you see right away that that is

much larger than getting a hamburger at a

lunch counter.

MR. PEPPER: Nothing further.

Thank you, Jim.

THE COURT: Mr. Garrison.



Q. Reverend Lawson, you and I have

talked previously. I have just a few

questions to ask you. You had mentioned

earlier, I believe, that Dr. King had several

threats on his life. Was this within close

proximity of the time of the assassination

that you are aware of?

A. The threats upon his life were

daily. The rumors in Memphis were rampant

about death threats to him. Afterwards I had

calls from people who told me, for example --

I won't name the businessman who had a woman

who was his housekeeper who said that while

she was serving him supper, they were talking

about the imminent assassination of Martin


(901) 529-1999


Luther King in Memphis. This was just maybe

the week before the assassination.

Q. You weren't there the day of the

assassination -- I mean, you were not at the


A. I was not at the motel at the time.

Q. Have you ever had any investigation

or that you have conducted that would

indicate as to where the shot may have come


A. Oh, yes. I can't name them all, but

there were at least -- there were five or six

people on the grounds at the time that the

FBI and the local police never interrogated.

Jessie Jackson was on the ground floor. He

has never been interrogated.

Jim Orange was one of our field

directors. He claims that he saw a figure

and smoke in the brush outside -- this side

of Main Street. He has never been


There is a New York Times reporter

who was on the same floor of the balcony. He

has written this in his book now, that he has


(901) 529-1999


never been interrogated. He saw smoke or a

figure in the brush above the motel (sic).

So there were a number of people who

were on the scene who are not to be found in

the Congressional record or in the official

police reports, but they were there.

MR. GARRISON: I believe that's

all I have. Thank you.

MR. PEPPER: Nothing further.

THE COURT: All right. You can

stand down, Reverend Lawson. We're going to

lunch. I know you don't want to remain this

the courtroom at this time.

(Jury out.)

(Lunch recess.)

THE COURT: All right. Bring

the jury in, please.

(Jury in.)

(Bench conference outside the

presence of the court reporter.)

THE COURT: All right. You may

call your next witness, Mr. Pepper.

MR. PEPPER: Thank you, Your



(901) 529-1999


Plaintiffs call Maynard Stiles.


Having been first duly sworn, was examined

and testified as follows:



Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Stiles.

A. Good afternoon, sir.

Q. Thank you very much for coming here

this afternoon.

A. You are welcome.

Q. Would you state your full name and

address for the record, please.

A. My name Maynard Stiles. I reside on

Highway 57 in Fayette County, Tennessee.

Q. And you are presently employed?

A. No. I'm retired.

Q. And how long have you been retired?

A. I retired in January of 1989.

Q. What did you do prior to your


A. I served in various capacities of the

City of Memphis, including the director of

fire services, director of public works,


(901) 529-1999


director of sanitation services, purchasing

agent for the city.

Q. You've been a long term public

servant in Memphis and Shelby County?

A. I was there for a few years, yes,


Q. Were you at one time an official with

the Department of Public works?

A. Well, I was director of public

works. Prior to that I had been

administrative assistant to the director of

public works, and sanitation at one time came

under public works, and I was in the

Sanitation Department at that time.

Q. I see. Did the Sanitation Department

come under public works in 1968?

A. Yes, it did.

Q. And what was your capacity in 1968?

A. You know, I'm not sure I can tell

what you the exact title was. It was either

a division superintendent or a district

superintendent, whichever was higher, within


Q. So you were a senior official in the


(901) 529-1999


Sanitation Department at that time?

A. I was over approximately one-third of

the city.

Q. What did your duties encompass in

that position?

A. Well, the collection of garbage was

primary, but there were various and sundry

other things, such as street cleaning, the

collection of trash, the operation of

landfills and various administrative duties.

Q. Right. Were there any sort of

cleanup duties connected with your office at

that time? Were you overlooking any of that


A. Well, we did cleanup on a continuing

basis. After the strike, everything was

combined -- or when the strike began

everything was combined and we worked out of

one operation, and one of my duties at that

time was liaison with the Memphis Police

Department, and it could encompass anything.

Q. Right. So you were a liaison officer

from the Sanitation Department to the Memphis

Police Department at that point in time?


(901) 529-1999


A. At that point in time.

Q. All right. Who was the Memphis

police department officer or inspector who

was your counterpart or with whom you


A. I believe that was Sam Evans.

Q. Inspector Sam Evans. Now, on the

morning of April 5th, 1968, the morning after

the assassination of Martin Luther King, did

Sam Evans call you early in the morning?

A. I received a call from Inspector

Evans on or about seven a.m. requesting

assistance in clearing brush and debris from

a vacant lot in the vicinity of the


Q. If you would just cast your eyes over

here, Mr. Stiles, for a moment, this drawing

shows Mulberry Street and South Main Street,

and in between the two of course the fire

station, parking area and a rooming house,

and behind this rooming house a grassy or

brushy, woodsy kind of area. Was that --

would that be the area that Inspector Evans

requested that you clean up?


(901) 529-1999


A. That appears to be the area that he

requested we send crews to assist in the

clean-up, yes.

Q. Right. And what did you do in

response to to that request?

A. I called another of the

superintendents in sanitation, Dutch Goodwin,

and he assembled a crew working under a

foreman, Willie Crawford. They went to that

site and under the direction of the police

department, whoever was in charge there,

proceeded with the cleanup in a slow,

methodical, meticulous manner.

Q. And about what time of day would they

have started that clean-up? Do you know?

A. Well, I can't tell you exactly. But

if I didn't get the call until after seven

and I called them immediately afterwards, by

the time they got crews together and got

there, it probably was no earlier than ten


Q. Okay. So they started that morning,

as you call it, with a meticulous cleanup of

this entire area that was over grown, heavily


(901) 529-1999


over grown with brush and bushes?

A. Correct.

Q. Did you yourself go by that scene to

see how it that cleanup was progressing at

any time?

A. I didn't go by to see how it was

progressing. I went by to see if I could

give them any assistance in any other way.

Because it wasn't up to any of us as to how

it was progressing. That was up to the

police department.

Q. Do you know how many men were

actually -- did you notice how many men were

actually involved in the cleanup over there

of the brushy area?

A. I'm afraid my thirty-five year old

memory is not quite that good.

Q. Would it have been more than two?

A. Yes, it would have been more than


Q. Right. Okay. So there is no

question in your mind that that area, that

brushy area, was carefully, meticulously,

cleaned up on April 5th, starting on April


(901) 529-1999


5th, the morning after the assassination?

A. That's correct.

MR. PEPPER: Thank you,

Mr. Stiles. No further questions.



Q. Mr. Stiles, let me ask you

something. When you were there -- you were

there the day it was being cleaned up. Am I

correct, sir?

A. That's correct.

Q. Did you see anyone in that area other

than the Memphis public works personnel that

you noticed?

A. Well, representatives of the police


Q. But most all city employees that you

see in that area that you recall?

A. If I'm not mistaken, I saw someone

taking pictures. Now, whether that

individual was a representative of the police

department or a civilian photographer, I

can't say.

MR. GARRISON: That's all.


(901) 529-1999




Q. Mr. Stiles, has any researcher or

book writer, particularly in recent times who

has written about this case, attempted to

interview you and take your story with

respect to this cleanup?

A. No.

Q. No one has?

A. No book writer. I've had contacts

from the Justice Department.

Q. Yes, of course. But no book writer

has tried to take your story and research it?

A. No.

MR. PEPPER: Nothing further,

Your Honor.

THE COURT: All right,

Mr. Stiles. You may stand down. You can

remain in the courtroom or you are free to


(Witness excused.)

THE COURT: Your next witness.

MR. PEPPER: Plaintiff's call

Olivia Catling to the stand, Your Honor.


(901) 529-1999



Having been first duly sworn, was examined

and testified as follows:



Q. Good afternoon, Ms. Catling. Thank

you very much for joining us this afternoon

and coming down.

Could you state your full name and

address for the record, please.

A. Olivia J. Catling, 375 Mulberry.

THE COURT: Spell your last

name, ma'am.


THE COURT: Catling. Thank


Q. (BY MR. PEPPER) Ms. Catling, I

believe you have carried some burdensome

information with you for over thirty-one

years. Is that right?

A. I do.

Q. You've come here this afternoon to

share it with us. Is that right?

A. I will.


(901) 529-1999


Q. And have you ever told this

information to anyone else?

A. No, I haven't.

Q. Either inside or outside a court of


A. Outside -- outside the court there

have been times I have.

Q. You have?

A. With the kids or whatever, husband,


Q. Members of your family?

A. Uh-huh.

Q. Ms. Catling, could you tell us where

your house is on Mulberry Street?

A. My house is between Huling and Talbot

just off of Main.

Q. Just off Main?

A. Uh-huh.

Q. Where were you living in 1968, on

April 4th, 1968?

A. At 375 Mulberry.

Q. All right. Now --

MR. PEPPER: May I approach,

Your Honor?


(901) 529-1999



(Mr. Pepper approaches diagram on


Q. (BY MR. PEPPER) Now, where is 375

Mulberry from here? This graph is cut off

right at Huling.

A. That's Huling.

Q. The other side of Huling?

A. Uh-huh.

Q. On which side of Huling?

A. Where I was standing or what?

Q. Which side of Mulberry was your


A. That side.

Q. That side?

A. Uh-huh.

Q. The west side?

A. That's right.

Q. And where were you on the 4th of

April, 1968, at around six o'clock in the


A. It was just before six o'clock.

Q. Just before six o'clock. Where were

you at that time?


(901) 529-1999


A. I was at home.

Q. You were at home. What did you hear

around that time?

A. The shot.

Q. You heard a shot?

A. I sure did.

Q. You heard it clearly?

A. Clearly.

Q. What did you do after you heard that


A. I broke and ran out of the house. I

ran to the corner of Huling and Mulberry.

Q. But did you do something at home

before you ran out?

A. I was cooking some chicken.

Q. That's all right. What did you do?

A. I turned it off.

Q. So you turned off the stove?

A. Yes, I did.

Q. Did you have any children about?

A. The kids was out front.

Q. They were out in front of the house?

A. Uh-huh.

Q. All right. What did you do with


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respect to the children?

A. We all ran down there.

Q. You all ran down there?

A. We ran. We didn't walk.

Q. You ran?

A. Because I said, oh my God, Dr. King

is at that hotel.

Q. Right.

MR. PEPPER: Your Honor --

Mr. Garrison, would you like to come around

and see the front of this?

MR. GARRISON: That's okay.

I've already seen it. I'll come around, if


Q. (BY MR. PEPPER) So you ran down to

the corner of Huling --

A. Uh-huh.

Q. -- and Mulberry, which is right here?

A. Right.

Q. Did you cross the street or did you

stay on the north corner?

A. I stood there on the corner.

Q. You stood there on that corner. Why

did you stay on that corner? Why did you


(901) 529-1999


stop there? Why didn't you cross the street?

A. Well, one reason why we didn't cross

the streets is because there were some squad

cars coming.

Q. There were squad cars coming?

A. Uh-huh.

Q. Had they arrived at this area by


A. No.

Q. Where were they coming from?

A. Main.

Q. So they were coming down Huling --

A. Down Huling.

Q. East on Huling from South Main Street

toward Mulberry?

A. Right.

Q. And you just stopped there?

A. Right.

Q. What did those squad cars do and

where did they go?

A. They stopped across Mulberry. It was

like putting a block in there.

Q. They parked across Mulberry?

A. Uh-huh.


(901) 529-1999


Q. They barricaded the street at that


A. That's right.

Q. Now, as you stood on that street

corner, did you notice anything strange or

different happening in the area?

A. There was a car there.

Q. There was a car?

A. Uh-huh.

Q. Where was that car parked?

A. On Huling.

Q. On Huling. Where on Huling?

A. Just about -- I would say it was on

Huling parked to the right on Huling, about

along in there.

Q. Right-hand side of Huling?

A. There is not quite an alley in there,

but there is more like a driveway in there.

It was parked just below there.

Q. Just below that alley, the driveway?

A. Right.

Q. Right there at the right-hand side of

the street?

A. Right.


(901) 529-1999


Q. What kind of car was that?

A. It was a 1965 Chevy.

Q. A 1965 Chevy?

A. Chevrolet, yes.

Q. What color was it?

A. It was green.

Q. It was green. You remember that to

this day?

A. I can't forget it.

Q. Okay. So you saw that car parked


A. Uh-huh.

Q. As you stood on the corner?

A. Right.

Q. Then did you observe something a

short while later while you were still

standing on that corner?

A. Yes. There was a man.

Q. You saw a man?

A. Yes.

Q. And where did you see this man?

A. It is almost like that little alley


Q. Yes.


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A. I call it a driveway, right in there.

Q. Right here?

A. That's where he came out of there.

Q. He came out of this alley?

A. That's true.

Q. And what was he doing?

A. He ran around the back of the car.

Q. He ran around the back of the car?

A. Uh-huh.

Q. He got in the car?

A. Yes. You want to know how he was


Q. Yes. Why don't you tell us how he

was dressed.

A. He had on a checkered shirt, khaki

pants, he had on a light hat, light-colored


When he did that, he got in the car,

he made a left turn on Mulberry, went back

down Mulberry, he went to Vance, he made a

right turn on Vance going east.

Q. You saw him run through this alley,

get in this car --

A. True.


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Q. -- drive and make a left on

Mulberry --

A. True.

Q. -- go to Vance, which is the next


A. Right.

Q. And take a right?

A. Took a right.

Q. Was he driving quickly?

A. There is another street in there

called Talbot. But he crossed Talbot. He

went to Vance. He went east on Vance.

Q. Was he in a hurry?

A. Oh, yes.

Q. How fast was he driving? Very, very


A. You really want to I know what I

said? I said, it is going to take us six

months to pay for this rubber he is burning

up. That's how he was going.

Q. That's how he was going?

A. That's right.

Q. My goodness. Now, this alleyway goes

through to the buildings that front on South


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Main and back on Mulberry?

A. No, that alley shuts off at that

building. He had to come down that wall

because that alley, it shuts off that

building. It has got a wall against it.

Q. So the alley dead-ends just before


A. Uh-huh.

Q. He came from somewhere, you don't

know where, of course, but from somewhere --

A. When I saw him, he was coming out of

a hole. It is not really an alley. It is a

driveway, because they park cars in there


Q. Right. So it a driveway?

A. Uh-huh. But at that time it wasn't a


Q. Right. Was this occurrence that you

saw this, this man running through the alley,

getting in the car and speeding away, was he

carrying out this act in front of the police?

A. Oh, yes, he was. The police had made

it there.

Q. So the police were there?


(901) 529-1999


A. Yes.

Q. And they saw him do this?

A. Yes.

Q. What did they do?

A. Nothing.

Q. Did that seem strange to you at that


A. It did.

Q. They just let him drive away. Was

this quite close to the time of the actual


A. This was -- yes.

Q. Within minutes, in any event?

A. Within minutes.

Q. Now, moving on, Mrs. Catling, did you

also see as you stood on that corner a

fireman standing somewhere near the wall and

the bushes --

A. I did.

Q. -- the brushy area?

A. I did.

Q. How was this fireman dressed?

A. In his regular firemen clothes, like

maybe white shirt, standing out. There was


(901) 529-1999


more than him there, but the rest of them was

down there at Mulberry and the next street


Q. Butler?

A. Just behind the Fire Department.

This one particular fireman, he was standing

alone by himself.

Q. He was standing alone by himself.

What was he doing?

A. Well, I imagine he was trying to get

a glimpse of Dr. King, but it happened before

he did. Then do you want me to tell you what

he told the police?

Q. Yes, Ms. Catling, that would be


A. He told the police -- he said, "That

shot came from those clump of bushes."

Q. Could you hear him distinctly say


A. Yes. I was standing there on that

corner, and I've got good hearing.

Q. You heard him say to the police in

the area, "That shot came" --

A. From that clump of bushes.


(901) 529-1999


Q. -- "from that clump of bushes"?

A. And he pointed to them.

Q. I see. What did the police do when

they heard him say that?

A. Stepped across the street with their

guns drawn.

Q. Did they listen to him?

A. No, I would say they did not listen

to him. The only thing they did is they

walked across the street with their guns

drawn towards that clump of bushes.

Q. You heard him distinctly say that to

the police at that time?

A. I did.

Q. How long did you stand on that

corner, Mrs. Catling?

A. Until the ambulance came.

Q. And took Dr. King away?

A. Uh-huh. And also Mrs. Bailey,

because both of them died at the same time.

Q. Mrs. Bailey, because she collapsed as


A. Yes.

MR. PEPPER: Ms. Catling, thank


(901) 529-1999


you very much. No further questions.

THE COURT: Mr. Garrison.



Q. Ms. Catling, if I might ask you a few

questions. I still didn't understand the

spelling of your last name.

C A T --

A. L I N G.

Q. -- L I N G?

A. Uh-huh.

Q. That's what I thought it was. I just

want to be sure. On the day this occurred

and you were cooking some food, did you hear

the shot before you went outside?

A. No. I heard the shot in my kitchen.

Q. You were in the kitchen?

A. I sure did.

Q. Okay. Is that like a block away or

half a block away?

A. It is not a block away, it is not

even a half a block away.

Q. Pretty close?

A. You can run down there in two


(901) 529-1999



Q. Were you able to tell which direction

the shot sounded like it came from?

A. From the sound, the way the sound

came from, like the sound was on the side of

the street that I live on.

Q. Okay. So which side do you live on


A. When you are going south, my house is

sitting to the left.

Q. So would you be on the southeast

corner? Would that be a fair statement?

A. No. I'm not on the corner.

Q. Okay.

A. There is a building there. I'm just

down the street below that building.

Q. I see. This Chevrolet car that you

saw -- you said it was a Chevrolet, I

believe, didn't you?

A. Correct.

Q. What color was it?

A. It was green.

Q. A green car. Was it a large

standard-sized car or smaller car? How would


(901) 529-1999


you describe it?

A. You wouldn't consider it -- may I say


Q. Yes, ma'am.

A. You wouldn't consider cars at that

time small cars because, see, my husband had

a Chevrolet, that's the reason why.

Q. That's why you remember it?

A. Yes. No small car.

Q. But was it a standard-size car or


A. Yes, it would be a standard size.

Q. Was it two-door or four-door, do you


A. It was two-door.

Q. When this person came up to it, did

he have to unlock it to get into it?

A. Yes, he did.

Q. Did he have anything in his hands,

Ms. Catling?

A. No.

Q. He didn't --

A. He didn't have anything in his hands.

Q. Nothing was in his hands?


(901) 529-1999


A. Nothing was in his hands except his

car keys.

Q. He had to unlock it?

A. Uh-huh.

Q. Then he got in it and started it?

A. And took off.

Q. Which direction was it facing?

A. It was facing -- this is Huling. It

was facing Mulberry. That's the reason why

you could make such an easy left turn and go

down Mulberry.

Q. He burned a lot of rubber, in your

words, the way you described him getting


A. He certainly did. As a taxpayer,


Q. He turned off of Mulberry onto what


A. Onto Vance.

Q. That's the last you saw of him?

A. That's the last I saw of him.

Q. How many police officers were out

there that you saw? You stated there were

some officers that seen him. How many were


(901) 529-1999


there around there?

A. There was around four squad cars.

Q. Four different cars?

A. Squad cars. I call them squad cars.

Q. How far away from his car were they


A. They came and parked on Mulberry, to

block Mulberry off. They did not block

Huling off. They blocked Mulberry off.

Q. Okay. When he left, he had gone down


A. Yes.

Q. But did he go past the police cars?

A. No. He didn't have to pass them. He

passed the police cars, but the police cars

were sitting at the end of Mulberry and


Q. Let me ask you this again: How far

was the police car from his car? The nearest

police car was how far from his car?

A. From where he was parked?

Q. Yes, ma'am. Where he got his car,

how far was the nearest police car to his



(901) 529-1999


A. Huling is on the corner. He was

parked just down Huling. That made the squad

car parked on Mulberry.

Q. Would that have been two or three car

lengths or more than that or less than?

A. It could have been the length of

where he parked his car, it could have been

three car lengths, it could have been two car


Q. Each police car had several officers

in it? Each police car had several officers

in it?

A. I wouldn't say seven officers,

because they don't ride seven deep.

THE COURT: He didn't say

"seven." He said "several."

THE WITNESS: Well, anyway, that

could mean two, Your Honor.

Q. (BY MR. GARRISON) There were many

police officers out there?

A. Beg your pardon?

Q. There were many police officers out


A. There was many of them.


(901) 529-1999


Q. They were in uniform?

A. Yes, they were.

Q. What were they doing, Ms. Catling?

A. Standing.

Q. Just standing looking?

A. Yes.

Q. Did they have guns in their hands?

A. Yes.

Q. Did you point out to those officers

that this gentleman had run out of an alley

and got in a car soon after the shot and was

getting away?

A. Could I really have my say?

Q. Yes, ma'am. You sure do.

A. As many neighbors as there was in

that neighborhood, they never came to us and

asked us one question.

Q. But you didn't volunteer this to the


A. I didn't volunteer. They didn't

ask. They should have came and said, what

did you see, did you see anything, tell us

what you see.

Q. How close to the scene of the


(901) 529-1999


assassination did you get that day, would you


A. I was, like I said, on the corner of

Huling and Mulberry.

Q. You said that was less than a half a

block away?

A. Oh, sure. You know it is way less

than that. From there to 400, it is just a

hop skip and jump.

Q. When the fireman told that the shot

came from the brush area, you heard him

saying something like that?

A. Right.

Q. Did you look up there --

A. No.

Q. -- in the brush area?

A. No.

Q. You did not?

A. The police was not going to let us

cross there.

Q. But you didn't look up there when he

said that?

A. No.

Q. So you didn't see anyone in the brush


(901) 529-1999


area because you didn't look up there. Is

that correct?

A. Uh-huh, because, after all, a portion

of that building still covers that section.

Q. You had been living there a long

time, Ms. Catling. Those trees and brushes,

had they been there a long time?

A. They always grew there. They always

grew there.

Q. They hadn't been cut in a long time?

A. Yes.

Q. This fireman that you said made the

statement about where the shot came from,

where was he located when he made that


A. Just across from the hotel. He was

down on the --

Q. He was on west side of Mulberry?

A. Yes. We all was on the same side of

the street, on the same side of Mulberry.

Q. And the fireman was in uniform?

A. Yes, he was.

Q. What was his race? Was he white or



(901) 529-1999


A. Yes, he was white.

Q. This gentleman that got in the

Chevrolet car, what was his race?

A. He was white.

Q. And were you able to describe about

what age person he might have been?

A. He could have been in his late


Q. What was his build? Heavy, medium,


A. May I try to give you his height?

Q. Yes, sure.

A. He weighed about a hundred and

eighty-five to ninety pounds, he was a

five-feet-ten man. My husbands is six feet.

So I could measure him as a little bit

shorter than my husband.

Q. A little bit shorter than your


A. Right.

Q. Ms. Catling, at the time you had

lived there, had you ever seen anyone up

walking in that brush area up there ever?

A. Never have.


(901) 529-1999


Q. You never have seen anyone?

A. No, no.

MR. GARRISON: That's all the

questions I have.

MR. PEPPER: Just a bit more,

Your Honor.



Q. Ms. Catling, the man whom you saw

running from the alley onto Huling minutes

after the killing got into the car and drove

away with the Memphis Police Department

officers watching him drive away, had you

ever seen that man before in that


A. I never had seen him before.

Q. Have you ever seen him since?

A. No, I haven't. I haven't seen him


Q. Ms. Catling, the fireman who you saw

at the foot of the wall yelling to the police

that the shot came from the clump of bushes

minutes after the shooting --

A. Uh-huh.


(901) 529-1999


Q. -- had you ever seen that fireman

before down around Mulberry Street?

A. No, no, not where the Fire Department

is from there where I live, never have, no.

Q. Have you ever seen him since then?

A. No, I haven't.

Q. How many of your children were with

you on the corner when you saw this?

A. Two.

Q. How old were they at the time?

A. Eleven and thirteen.

Q. And they saw the same thing that you


A. Saw the same thing.

Q. Were there any other neighbors

standing there who saw the same thing?

A. Well, some of my neighbors, you know,

were way up in age. It took them time to get

down there, but it didn't take me no time to

get down there, me and the kids, because I

could run and they couldn't. So they walked

down there. I ran down there.

Q. Did the police or any homicide

investigators go door to door, so far as you


(901) 529-1999


are aware, in your neighborhood, knock on the

doors and ask people in that neighborhood,

all of you, any of you, if you had seen


A. No.

MR. PEPPER: No further

questions. Thank you, Your Honor.

THE COURT: Anything further,

Mr. Garrison?

MR. GARRISON: Let me ask you

one more question, please, ma'am.



Q. You saw this gentleman come running

out of an alley there, what, three or four,

five minutes after the shot was fired. Am I


A. Well, like I said, it took me about

two minutes to get to the corner I would

estimate by me running.

Q. But you really don't know that this

gentleman had anything to do with the

assassination, do you?

A. I cannot say.


(901) 529-1999


MR. GARRISON: That's all the

questions I have.

THE COURT: All right.

Ms. Catling, you may stand down. Thank you

very much. You can remain in the courtroom

or you are free to leave.

THE COURT: Thank you.

(Witness excused.)

MR. PEPPER: Could we approach,

Your Honor?


(Bench conference out of the

presence of the court reporter.)

MR. PEPPER: Your Honor, if it

please the Court, the plaintiffs would like

to read into the record the statement of

Hasel D. Huckaby, then in 1993 of 5396

Lockenvar Victory, Memphis, Tennessee.


(901) 529-1999


THE COURT: Would you please

spell the name for me.

MR. PEPPER: Yes. It is

H U C K A B Y. Mr. Huckaby is deceased, Your


THE COURT: What's the first


MR. PEPPER: Hasel, H A S E L,

Hassle D, as in David.

THE COURT: Thank you. I needed

that, but the jurors didn't.

MR. PEPPER: Question:

Mr. Huckaby, could you tell us whether you

are presently employed?


From which company have you


Answer: South Central Bell.

Question: How long did you work for

South Central Bell?

Answer: Thirty-six years, one day.

Were you working for Southern Bell

on the 4th of April, 1968?

Answer: Yes, sir.


(901) 529-1999


Question: Would you tell the Court

what your assignment was on that day?

Answer: I was working at the

warehouse across the street from the Fred B.

Gattis store and his warehouse on South


On South Main Street?

Answer: South Main Street.

Question: Tell us again where on

South Main Street you were, or were you on

South Main Street itself?

Answer: At that point the witness

left the stand and pointed to a building on

the corner of South Main and Talbot.

Question: Did you have an

opportunity while of the you were still here

to spend any time on Huling, Huling Street

area, on that day?

Answer: No, not to my


The witness at that point was asked

to take his seat.

Question: So your assignment was to

perform some telephone installation work in


(901) 529-1999


the South Main Street area?

Answer: Right.

Question: And the customer, could

you just name the customer again?

Answer: The Fred B. Gattis store.

He had a store on the west side of Main and

his warehouse was on the east side of Main

across the street from the store.

Question: Moving on, page 1799 in

the transcript, did you observe any

individuals or any automobiles or anyone that

appeared to you to be somewhat unusual in

that area on that day, April 4, 1968?

Answer: I did.

Question: You do remember. And do

you know the significance of the 4th of

April, 1968?

Answer: That day a man being down


Question: But what happened on

April 4, 1968? Not to you, but generally

speaking, what event took place?

Answer: That I know of, this man

was sitting there on the steps and he


(901) 529-1999


appeared to be intoxicated.

Question: The man appeared to be

intoxicated, but you didn't believe him?

Answer: No.

Question: Why didn't you believe


Answer: Because I had seen too many

of those people on that end of town in

previous work. I had worked down there, and

he didn't appear to be one of them.

Question: What was different about

this man?

Answer: He was too sharply

dressed. He was dressed sharp, fresh shaven

and clean-cut.

Question: Was he on foot?

Answer: He appeared to be.

Question: Did you see him enter an

automobile at any time or go over to an

automobile at any time?

Answer: No, sir.

Question: Did you see an automobile

parked in the area?

Answer: I don't remember one, but I


(901) 529-1999


don't remember seeing one.

Question: Did you speak with this

individual who seemed to be out of place at


Answer: I did. I don't remember

the complete conversation. He said something

like I've got to go home. I don't remember

what it was.

Question: Was this individual and

this event, this observation of yours, ever

brought to your attention again?

Answer: Yes, it was, some six or

eight years later, I met the police officer

that took my statement at the police records,

and we were talking, and he talked about the

case, and he told me that he remembered.

Question: Do you know the name of

the police officer?

Answer: Hamby, Lieutenant Hamby.

Question: Mr. Huckaby, did anything

else happen to you in the ensuing months?

Answer: Some four or five -- three,

four or five months, I don't remember the

exact time, I received a package in the mail


(901) 529-1999


about six inches square, and I opened it up,

and it was half a pack of cigarettes, a half

box of penny matches and a rattlesnake


Question: That's strange. Would

you describe the contents of that package

again, please.

Answer: Half a package of

cigarettes, a half a box of penny matches,

the little box of matches like we used to

buy, and a rattlesnake rattle. The

rattlesnake rattle had, as I remember,

approximately six or seven or eight


Question: What did that mean to


Answer: That meant that rattlesnake

was a good-sized rattlesnake and I had been

told that the rattlesnake rattle gets one

rattle for every year.

Question: Why do you think you

received this strange package?

Answer: At the time I don't know.

I'm still not sure.


(901) 529-1999


Question: Were you uneasy about it?

Answer: I was enough that I went to

the post office, I went to the police

department, and nobody could tell me what it

meant or anything else. They told me to go

on and forget about it. But I tried to find

out about it in the meantime.

MR. PEPPER: That's the end of

the portion of the statement that we want to

read into the record.

The next witness, the plaintiffs

call Mr. Ed Atkinson.


Having been first duly sworn, was examined

and testified as follows:



Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Atkinson.

A. Good afternoon.

Q. Would you state your name and address

for the record, please.

A. Edward A. Atkinson, 1752 Vinton

Avenue, Memphis.

Q. Mr. Atkinson, what do you presently


(901) 529-1999



A. I'm retired.

Q. How long have you been retired?

A. Since 1975.

Q. What did you do before you retired?

A. I was -- well, immediately before, I

was in the larceny squad at police


Q. All right. You were a serving police


A. Yes.

Q. And how long had you been with the

Memphis Police Department?

A. About twenty-seven months when I


Q. Twenty-seven months?

A. Twenty-seven -- pardon me. No, it

was 1950 to 1975. Twenty-five years, three


Q. Twenty-five years plus. What were

your various positions with the Memphis

Police Department?

A. For about the first four, five years

I rode squad cars. Then I went from there to


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the traffic division where I worked until I

moved to the personnel division, background

investigations, and then larceny squad.

Q. What position did you have with the

police department in 1968?

A. I was in the traffic division at the


Q. Where were you assigned?

A. My duty at that time regularly was

with the paint crew, escorting the paint

truck as they striped the lines. When I was

not working with them, I worked on the cars

and in the evenings I would drive the

three-wheel motorcycle and turn off the lane

lights on Union Avenue.

Q. Where was your base?

A. Sir?

Q. Where was your base?

A. Headquarters.

Q. Central headquarters?

A. Central headquarters.

Q. Here in Memphis. Do you recall being

in central headquarters one day in 1968, in

the spring of 1968, and just being present at


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a stand-up conversation involving -- where

three of you were standing around?

A. I can't be exactly sure of the

number, but, yes, three, maybe four, on just

passing conversations, yes.

Q. This particular conversation, was a

Lieutenant Earl Clark present?

A. I don't recall specifically who was

there. I really don't he very well may have

been one of them.

Q. And how many other officers were

present? Do you recall?

A. Two, three, besides -- a total of

maybe four, including myself.

Q. Was there at that time a discussion

about the crime scene -- do you recall a

discussion about the crime scene of the

assassination of Martin Luther King?

A. I recall having that discussion with

someone, specifically at that time with those

I'm not sure, but, yes, I had heard that

discussed several times.

Q. Yes. But you have been unable to

recall the name of the one officer who was a


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sergeant who was talking. Is that right?

A. No, I really can't remember. I don't

remember specifically.

Q. But that sergeant was speaking to

whom? Even if you can't recall his name, who

was he speaking to?

A. I suppose to all of us generally. I

don't know that he was speaking to anyone in


Q. Who was there, Mr. Atkinson, in that

little group that you had conversation with?

A. I really can't be sure whether

Captain Clark was one of them. Specifically

I couldn't begin to name who they were.

That's thirty-one years ago.

Q. Of course it was. But at previous

times and under oath you have indicated that

Earl Clark was present at that conversation.

Isn't that right?

A. Not necessarily at that time. He was

present on one occasion when we were

discussing it. Whether it was that

particular time, I don't know.

Q. Was there a discussion on this


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particular time about the line of fire that

was being discussed from the bathroom window?

A. I had heard that discussion or I

heard that remark from possibly two or three

different people. I honestly couldn't say

that at that particular time that Clark was


Q. What discussion did you hear?

A. The comment was made, as I recall,

that they found a hand print in one of the

rooms but they didn't think the shot was

fired from there, and the comment was made

about a sycamore tree that was there or

wasn't there, I don't know.

Q. What was the comment about the

sycamore tree?

A. Well, they said there was a

sycamore -- or at least someone said there

was a sycamore tree there and the shot

couldn't have been fired from that room, it

had to have been fired from another room.

Q. There was a sycamore tree there, so

the shot couldn't have been fired from that



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A. That is right.

Q. What room was that?

A. Specifically what room --

Q. Was it the bathroom?

A. I don't recall. They never mentioned

what room it was.

Q. Do you recall the sergeant saying

that he had viewed this site in the presence

of a FBI agent?

A. No. I don't ever recall hearing that

from anyone.

Q. You don't recall that?

A. No.

Q. You only recall the discussion

talking about a sycamore tree and the

difficulty of a shot being fired from a room

because of that tree?

A. That remark had been made on several

occasions at several different times. Most

of the people, in my opinion was that most of

the people that made the remark didn't know

anymore than I would because they weren't

there and neither was I.

Q. Sir, was there ever any suggestion


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made about what should have been done or was

done about that sycamore tree?

A. Someone said it was cut down. I

later heard that, yes, it was cut down, it

had been cut down quite some time before. So

that I don't know. I had never been to -- I

never even been in that area.

Q. You have never been to the site?

A. So I really couldn't say.

Q. But you remember hearing one say it

had been cut down?

A. Yes. Then someone made the remark,

yes, that it was, it had been cut down a long

time ago. Whether there was a tree or not, I

don't know.

Q. Did you have more than one discussion

of this sort just around central


A. I can't say that -- I can't name

anyone in particular. I have no idea.

Captain Clark may have. Or any number of

people I worked with.

Q. Do you recall identifying Captain

Clark explicitly as being present at that


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discussion a number of years ago, some six

years ago, under oath?

A. I recall Captain Clark being -- he

was present on a discussion. Whether that

was in the squad room, larceny squad or

where, I don't know. But, yes, the remark

this been made. Whether Captain Clark made

it or someone else present, I don't know.

MR. PEPPER: No further

questions. Your witness.

MR. GARRISON: I have no

questions. Thank you, sir.

THE COURT: All right,

Mr. Atkinson, thank you very much. You may

stand down. You are free to leave or you can

remain in the courtroom.

THE WITNESS: Thank you, sir.

(Witness excused).

THE COURT: Let's take a short

recess, about ten minutes.

(Short recess. )

THE COURT: Bring in the jury.

(Jury in.)

THE COURT: Call your next


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witness, please.

MR. PEPPER: Plaintiffs call

Mr. James Lesar.


Having been first duly sworn, was examined

and testified as follows:



Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Lesar.

A. Good afternoon.

Q. Thank you for being here with us,

joining us from the nation's capital. Would

you please state your name and address for

the record.

A. Yes. James H. Lesar, L E S, as in

Sam, A R. My address is 7313 Lynnhurst

Street, L Y N N H U R S T, Chevy Chase,

Maryland, 20815.

Q. Thank you. Can you tell us what is

your profession?

A. I'm a lawyer.

Q. Where do you practice?

A. In Washington, D.C.

Q. What is the present nature of your


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A. I specialize in Freedom of

Information Act litigation. That means I sue

the United States government agencies for

documents that they don't want to release.

Q. Was there a time in your career when

you represented James Earl Ray?

A. Yes. From approximately June or July

of 1970 until 1976 I represented James Earl


Q. In the course of that representation

were you associate counsel at proceedings

that were held in the Federal Court here in

this district?

A. Yes, I was.

Q. What was nature of those proceedings.

A. We had filed a writ of habeas corpus

claiming that James Earl Ray was being held

illegally, and after four years proceeding

through state and federal courts, in October,

1974, a two-week evidentiary hearing was held

here in Memphis in the Federal District


Q. Was there a range of evidence that


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was reviewed at that time?

A. Yes.

Q. And did some of that evidence have to

do with the origin of the shot related to the

window sill in the bathroom of the rooming


A. Yes.

Q. And could you summarize for the Court

and the jury that evidence, the evidence that

pertained to that aspect of the case.

A. Well, at James Earl Ray's guilty plea

hearing on March 10, 1969, the District

Attorney for the State of Tennessee, James

Beasley, had made a representation to the

Court as to certain evidence that the state

would have proved had there been a trial.

Among that he stated that they would

prove by expert testimony that there were

markings on the window sill from which the

shot was allegedly fired that could be

consistent with markings on the underside of

the barrel of the rifle that was the alleged

murder weapon, that is, the rifle that was

found in front of Canipe's Amusement Store at


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422 and a half South Main Street.

That statement came under attack,

and we felt that it was a misrepresentation

to the Court by the state's attorney. In

fact, nearly a year before that statement was

made, the FBI had conducted tests on the

window sill, and the FBI tests reflected that

they could not match the alleged murder

weapon to a dent in the window sill.

Secondly, we put on at the evidentiary

hearing the testimony of an expert witness,

Professor Herbert Leon McDonnell.

Professor McDonnell did his own test

on the window sill, and he concluded that you

could not even determine the class of object

that made the dent in the window sill, not

only could you not link it with a particular

rifle, you couldn't even tell that it was

made by a rifle.

Then, third, subsequently, bearing

on that point, as to whether or not the fire

was -- whether or not the rifle was fired

from that window. I subsequently represented

a man by the name of Harold Wiseberg in a


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Freedom of Information Act lawsuit which went

on for a decade and ultimately obtained about

sixty thousand pages of FBI records.

Among those records were reports by

the FBI on their examination of the window

sill, and it included a statement that no

powder residues were found on the window


Q. Mr. Lesar, let me ask you to look at

two documents, one dated April 7th, 1968, the

other dated April 11th, 1968. One is a

bureau-tell from the Washington office of the

Federal Bureau of Investigation to the local

office, and the other is an FBI report.

A. Yes.

Q. Would you look at those two documents

and tell the Court if those were documents

that you -- copies of those documents that

you obtained under your Freedom of

Information Act application?

A. Yes. These are documents from the

FBI file on Dr. King's assassination. This

is called the MURKIN investigation,

M U R K I N, which is an FBI acronym that


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stands for murder of King. These report the

results of their lab tests. They were

obtained by me for my client, Mr. Harold

Wiseberg, in the Freedom of Information Act

lawsuit that we filed in 1976.

Q. Would you read from the report

document, if you would, the language with

respect to the window sill.

A. Yes. In this document the window

sill was referred to as Exhibit Q-71, and the

report states, and this is under date of

April 11, 1968, just a week after the

assassination, "The Q-71 board bears a recent

dent which could have been produced by a

light blow from the muzzle of a weapon such

as the Remmington rifle, Serial Number

461475, previously submitted in this case.

"The dent contains microscopic

marks of the type which could be produced by

the side of the barrel at the muzzle but

insufficient marks for identification were

left on the board due to the physical nature

of the wood."

And then skipping down just a little


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bit, "No gun powder or gun powder residues

were found on the Q-71 board."

MR. PEPPER: Thank you. Your

Honor. I move to admit these as Plaintiffs 2

and 3.

(The above-mentioned documents

were marked Exhibits 2 and 3 respectively.)

Q. (BY MR. PEPPER) So Mr. Lesar, is it

your testimony here this afternoon that

though District Attorney General Beasley

informed the jury at the guilty plea hearing

that in fact expert testimony, expert

laboratory testimony, would establish that

the dent in the window sill came from the

murder weapon in the case, the alleged murder

weapon in the case, that in fact within three

days of the killing, they had one report in

their hands which indicated that was not


A. The second report is dated --

actually the first in chronological sequence

is dated April the 7th, which is three days

after the murder.

Q. After the killing. Then a second


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report within a week after the killing?

A. Yes.

Q. That they had those two reports from

the FBI which indicated that such --

A. They are clearly inconsistent.

Q. -- is not possible?

A. They are clearly inconsistent with

Beasley's representation to the Court.

Q. When was the guilty plea hearing


A. March 10, 1969.

Q. So almost a year later they still

were saying experts were going to show that

window sill dent came from the murder


A. Yes.

MR. PEPPER: No further




Q. Let me ask you a few questions,

Mr. Lesar.

A. Sure.

Q. When you refer to the statement by


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District Attorney General Beasley, do you

know if the experts that he was referring to

were FBI experts?

A. It had to be the FBI. As these two

documents that have been introduced show, the

exhibit was sent to the FBI for testing. The

document in question -- both of the documents

in question come from FBI headquarters and

are directed to the FBI's local office in


Q. But you haven't seen the District

Attorney's file, so you really don't know if

they were referring to other experts or not,

do you, when he made this statement?

A. To the best of my knowledge, no other

testing was done. It was sent to the FBI for


Q. And in the hearing that you referred

to in federal court, did you offer any

evidence or proof that the shot was fired

from some other location other than the

window sill?

A. Yes. My recollection is that we did.

Q. What other proof was offered, if you


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A. Now you are asking me to go back

twenty-five years. I think that, among other

things, Professor McDonnell testified that it

was not possible to fire the rifle from the

bathroom window.

He went into an explanation based on

the mathematics, the size of the rifle.

You've got to understand in front of the

window from which the shot is fired is a

bathtub or was a bathtub, and you would have

to be a contortionist to be able to fire a

shot from that bathtub through the window

standing with at least one foot on the rim,

maybe with both feet on the rim of the


He said in his testimony that you

couldn't even fit the rifle in the required

space, because you had a right angle. The

wall and the bathtub is up against this wall,

the window is here right in front of it, and

the rifle couldn't fit in.

Q. Were any independent tests performed

by anyone when you were doing this to


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indicate that the rifle -- the shot had been

fired from another location other than the

window sill?

A. The only -- Professor McDonnell made

an examination, a microscopic examination, of

the bullet, which by that time had become

three bullet fragments, but he disputed --

his examination concluded contrary to the FBI

representation that it should be possible to

identify the rifle -- whether or not that

rifle fired that shot.

Q. But, I mean, did you have any

evidence of any sort, any tests that were

done, to indicate that it was fired in the

brush area behind the rooming house?

A. There were no tests that we did at

that time, no. Subsequently the House Select

Committee on Assassinations did a two-year

investigation of the King assassination and

concluded that both the bathroom -- the

rooming house bathroom and the area of the

clump of bushes directly opposite the

Lorraine Motel were both consistent with the

ballistic evidence as to the angle of the


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shot. So it could have come from either


MR. GARRISON: That's all.

Thank you.

MR. PEPPER: Nothing further,

Your Honor.

THE COURT: All right. You may

stand down.

THE WITNESS: Thank you.

(Witness excused.)

THE COURT: Call your next


MR. PEPPER: Your Honor,

plaintiffs call Ambassador Andrew Young.

May we approach, Your Honor?

(Bench conference outside the

presence of the court reporter.)


Having been first duly sworn, was examined

and testified as follows:



Q. Good afternoon, Ambassador Young.

A. Thank you.


(901) 529-1999


Q. Thank you very much for interrupting

your schedule and coming here to be with us

this afternoon.

Would you state your full name and

address for the record.

A. It is Andrew Young, 1088 Veltra

Circle, Atlanta, Georgia.

Q. And Ambassador Young, what do you

presently do?

A. I'm chairman of a small consulting

firm called Good Works International, and

we're attempting to help American businesses

share in African development.

Q. Previously what posts have you held?

A. Well, I was executive vice-president

of the Southern Christian Leadership

Conference in the 1960's, and I was member of

Congress from the State of Georgia in 1972 to

1977, and then I was Ambassador to the United

Nations from 1977 to 1980, and I was mayor of

Atlanta from 1981 to 1990.

Q. You've had a very long career in

public service?

A. A blessed career.


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Q. Back in 1968, what position did you

hold with the Southern Christian Leadership


A. I was executive vice-president of the

Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Q. What did your duties entail?

A. I was I guess officially the chief

administrator and did some organizing, some

fund raising. I started out essentially

training most of our staff through a

citizenship education program. But by 1968 I

was largely serving as executive secretary to

Martin Luther King.

Q. Right. Were you very much involved

in the planning of the Poor People's March on

Washington, that project?

A. I was, and it was Dr. King's concern

that America was plagued by, as he said, the

triple evils of racism, war and poverty. And

we had been involved in dealing with the

problems of race relations.

He had been active trying to put an

end to the war in Vietnam, and this was his

attempt simply to get America to see, in his


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words, that we would not exist with people

isolated on lonely islands of poverty amidst

this ocean of material wealth.

The situation in Memphis was typical

of that problem because you had men who were

working all week long and were still making

less than the poverty wage. And they were

trying to organize in order to negotiate to

be recognized as a union so they could get up

to the poverty wage. And they asked him to

come here in support of them.

Q. So there was significant

compatibility between the situation in

Memphis with the striking sanitation workers

and the projection later on that spring for

the Poor People's Campaign in Washington?

A. It was. In fact, we in the midst of

organizing the Poor People's Campaign in

Washington, and most of us felt that we

shouldn't get bogged down in local issues,

that it had to be addressed at the national

level, but he didn't feel as though he could

allow these men to be, you know, just left



(901) 529-1999


Q. Did you notice a great deal of enmity

of Dr. King because of his positions against

the war and behalf of the poor?

A. There had always been a great deal of

enmity. It increased significantly after the

war in Vietnam. We didn't know how much it

had increased, though. But starting with --

actually, it started when he won the Noble

Prize when J. Edgar Hoover said he was the

world's most notorious liar.

We couldn't understand what that was

all about. So we went to see Mr. Hoover and

had what we thought was a very successful and

satisfactory meeting: Later, after we left,

though, Mr. Hoover reported it quite

different than we thought had took place.

So it seemed as though there was

a -- well, there was an effort to undercut us

behind our backs, though whenever we talked

with them about it personally, they were very

polite and very congenial and even agreeable.

Q. Did you see an increase if the

threats against Martin King's life during

this period of time, between 1967 and 1968?


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A. We actually didn't see an increase in

the threats. There had always been threats.

We always thought that the threats were from

the kooks and we really didn't pay much

attention to them.

It wasn't until we actually were on

the way to Memphis that they emerged again.

Leaving Atlanta, the plane stopped, and they

said there was a bomb threat and everybody

had to get off the plane: But we hadn't had

that for years since the days of Selma and

Birmingham in 1964 and 1965.

Q. Was that April 3rd, the day that you

travelled from Atlanta to Memphis?

A. That's right.

Q. You travelled with the party that day

and arrived with Dr. King. Is that right?

A. I'm not sure. I think I was already

there. You think you had come in earlier. I

came in earlier because I had to testify in

the court on the injunction.

Q. That's right. You were representing

him in court at that time, weren't you?

A. Yes.


(901) 529-1999


Q. Do you remember seeing him on April

3rd when he did arrive?

A. I saw him that afternoon, he was

really feeling bad. And he had a bad cold.

I didn't realize it at the time, but I think

he was probably upset by the emergence of a

threat. But he didn't want to do the mass

meeting. I just thought he needed a rest.

Q. He ended up going to the mass


A. We ended up going to Mason Temple,

and there was -- I think it seats about

eleven thousand people, and there was -- it

was jam-packed and people all out in the

streets. So we went back to the motel and

called him and told him that he just needed

to come and that Ralph Abernathy would make

the main speech but he just needed to show

his face and greet the crowd.

Q. What happened at that meeting?

A. Well, Ralph did an eloquent job of

introducing him, but he then went on to give

one of the greatest speeches of his life.

Q. Now, the next day, April 4th, what


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were your movements, what did you do?

A. I went to the courtroom early that

day and I stayed in the court all day long.

Q. When did you return to the motel?

A. I returned to the motel after the

court adjourned about four o'clock.

Q. Did you see him at that time?

A. I went by his room to report on what

had happened. Much to my surprise, he was

feeling as jovial and as happy as I had ever

seen him.

When I walked in the door, he

snatched a pillow off the bed and through it

at me and said, where you been all day long.

I said, I've been Court. He said, oh, don't

hand me all that crap. He started beating me

with the pillow.

I mean, he was just feeling very

lighthearted and playful, which was a change

from his mood, you know, up until that

point. So we were just really glad to see

him feeling good again.

Q. This would be about two hours before

the assassination. What did you do for the


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remainder of that afternoon?

A. Well, actually we were -- they were

eating, had been eating, and I think his

brother had come to town, and there were, oh,

half a dozen or so folks sitting in this room

where they had two double beds, so people

were just sitting all over the floor and

everything and just talking, relaxed and

having a good time, until about -- well,

actually by the time I got down there it was

probably closer to five. And because about

five-thirty or so we said if we were going to

dinner, we thought he ought to go up to his

room to, you know, to wash up and get ready

to go out to diner.

Q. So he went back to his room around

five-thirty or so to get ready to go?

A. Five-thirty, maybe even later,

quarter to six, somewhere around there.

Q. Where did you go at that point?

A. I just stayed right there in the

parking lot. In fact, we were just sitting

around talking. Jessie Jackson had just come

in and Hosea Williams and others who had been


(901) 529-1999



So everybody was just sort of

milling around in the parking lot waiting to

go to dinner. At Reverend Kyle's house.

Q. Did you notice Dr. King come out on

the balcony at one point sometime a little

bit later closer to six?

A. He came out ready to go, but it was

getting cool, and because he had a cold and

had been feeling bad the day before, we were

suggesting that maybe he ought to go back and

get a coat. He was standing up there

thinking about whether or not he should get a


Q. Then what happened?

A. Actually, a shot rang out. We

thought it was a fire cracker or a car

backfiring. I mean, nobody thought it was a


I looked up there, and he had fallen

down. It was so -- well, it was so shocking,

and he had been so playful before, I thought

he was clowning until I ran up there and saw

that he had actually been shot.


(901) 529-1999


Q. What were your first movements after

you heard the shot and saw him fall down?

A. I ran right straight to the top of

the stairs.

Q. You turned and ran straight up?

A. Yeah.

Q. You didn't look across the road

or --

A. I didn't.

Q. That's all right. You just ran up to

the --

A. I ran up to see him.

Q. You ran up the stairs. The rest is

history, of course. He died soon after.

Now, Ambassador Young, of course, time is

precious and you are on a very tight schedule

as well, did you in recent years come to

consider the events of April 4th and the

assassination of your friend and colleague


A. I did. And it was largely because

people began to come forth and give actually

Martin's children new information which we

didn't have before.


(901) 529-1999


Q. And that would be within the last,

what, three, four years, somewhere around


A. I guess over the last three years.

Q. And then how did this new information

that you didn't previously have come to you?

Was it brought to you by members of the


A. It was brought to me largely by

Dexter, Martin's second son.

Q. And upon receiving it, did you begin

to consider again what had happened to Martin


A. Well, I think we always felt that we

didn't know what happened. There were always

questions that we deliberately did not take

the time to answer.

It is hard to explain to his

children, but the way he trained us was that

his death was probably inevitable but that

death should not stop the movement. So we

were much more concerned about keeping his

work going than we were about finding out who

was responsible for his death.


(901) 529-1999


So that's basically what we devoted

ourselves to. We continued the Poor People's

Campaign. We were active in the election.

We continued to organize workers and to

preach non-violence and teach, and we were

having some success. I was then involved in

politics. And it was largely because we

thought this was the way to carry on his


Q. You were perpetuating the legacy,


A. Yeah. In fact, Ralph Abernathy's

sermon was where they tried to kill Joseph in

the Bible, and the Bible says Joseph's

brother said let us kill the dreamer and we

will see then what will happen to his


We were determined that though they

might have killed the dreamer, that his

dreams would live on. And that we saw our

responsibility in keeping those dreams alive,

because we knew we could not bring him back.

Q. Ambassador, as a result of the

family's new awareness and concern about the


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events that took away their husband and

father, did you -- were you asked to

participate in a meeting with an individual

who came into the frame in this case and who

is the defendant here, Mr. Loyd Jowers?

A. Yes, I was. I was told that -- well,

actually I got the impression, whether I was

told this specifically or not, that

Mr. Jowers was getting older, he wasn't very

well, and it was almost like he wanted to get

right with God before he died. That's the

impression I had. Whether those were words

that he ever actually used or not, I don't


When we met with him, that was still

the impression that I had, that here was a

man who had a lot on his mind and a lot on

his conscience and who wanted to confess it

and be free of it.

Q. Do you recall how long ago you had

that meeting with Mr. Jowers?

A. About a year, I guess. I don't

remember the exact date.

Q. About a year ago?


(901) 529-1999


A. Yes.

Q. And that year ago, that meeting, was

that the first time that you had heard a

number of the facts, the accounts, that

Mr. Jowers put forward?

A. Well, actually I had heard them

before, and I just would not let myself think

about them. I think Reverend Joseph Lowery

had either met with Mr. Jowers or knew of

Mr. Jowers, and he had mentioned some of

these questions.

I had talked with James Orange, who

was on our staff, who was there with us, and

James had always been I think concerned about

all of the questions that were not raised.

I think the reason I focused on

Mr. Jowers was that I couldn't imagine that

the man who ran the bar or the grill right

across the street had not been interviewed by

the police or the FBI or no testimony had

been taken from him, is what I heard.

Q. Who was present at this meeting with

Mr. Jowers that you attended?

A. Dexter, his attorney, and you serving


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as Dexter's attorney. I think it was

Mr. Garrison. There was one other person who

videotaped what was going on.

Q. And Mr. Jowers?

A. And Mr. Jowers.

Q. Could you in the time remaining

summarize for us -- we have a tape-recording,

Ambassador, of that meeting, we're going to

ask you to authenticate that, but we're not

going to play it this afternoon in the

interest of time, but could you the remaining

moments before we do that, could you

summarize for the Court and the jury what

Mr. Jowers told you and Dexter King at that


A. Well, he said that he was the

proprietor of Jim's Grill, I think.

Q. Uh-huh.

A. And that he was a retired Memphis

police officer and that a lot of police

officers hung out at his place. He said that

he hadn't lived such a good life, he had a

lot of drinking and gambling problems, and

that he was in debt to somebody that he


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identified as the head of the Mafia in

Memphis who called him up and that he was

nervous about him and afraid that he was

calling to collect the money which he didn't

have, and the guy said, no, forget about

that, I just need you to do me a favor.

He said somebody is going to bring

you a package, and you put it in your store

room, and when I bring -- I think the head of

the Mafia also ran a produce company from

which Mr. Jowers got his vegetables and meat

supplies. And he said, when you get your

supplies, there is going to be a plastic bag

in the supplies, and take it out, it is going

to have money in it, and give it to the

person who brings you the package. And he

said he did that.

He said that he didn't know what was

going on, he was just doing as he was told.

He also said that there were a number of --

well, he went on to tell the story I think

first that some man who looked Spanish came

and brought him a package. He didn't know

what was it in, he said, but he put it in his


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storeroom and he gave the guy the package

with the money in it.

Then he said he got a call telling

him that at six o'clock he should go to the

back door of his store.

Q. On April 4th?

A. April 4th. He says he didn't know

what was going on but that there had been

people meeting in his store, and he said

there had been a meeting with a couple of

policemen, Memphis policemen that he knew and

three others that he didn't know, and he

remembered because he said they were sitting

in a booth and he had to put another chair at

the end, and that they were -- he didn't know

what they were doing.

But he said when he went to the back

door, just as he got to the door, a shot rang

out, and somebody came out of the bushes and

handed him a smoking rifle, and he broke it

down and wrapped it in a table cloth and put

it back in the storeroom.

He said the guy who handed him the

rifle was a fellow who had been on the


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Memphis police force with him that was a

friend of his who he used to go hunting with

and was quite a good marksman. I've

forgotten his name.

Q. That's all right.

A. But he said that the next day --

well, he said the next morning, when he came

to work and went back out to see what was

going on, because he said then he realized

what had happened, and he went back and he

said all of the bush, shrubs, behind his

store where the guy came from, all of them

had been cut down and the whole area had been

swept clean. And that later on somebody came

back -- the same guy came back and got the

rifle from him, and he took it and he never

saw it again.

Q. Did he -- do you recall if he said

what he did with the spent cartridge, the

shell that was in the rifle when he took it?

A. You know --

Q. That's all right.

A. I'm --

Q. It is a detail.


(901) 529-1999


A. I'm thinking, and I'm not sure, but I

think he might have said he threw it down the


Q. Yes.

A. He broke the rifle down and he kept

it and then gave it to this person, the man

who came to pick it up.

Q. The next day. Did he say whether he

had ever told that story to any officials or

anyone before or after?

A. Well, he said nobody had ever come to

talk to him about it.

Q. Ambassador Young, did you get the

impression that this was a man sitting before

you at a table telling you this story who was

trying to make some kind of money, some kind

of profit, who had some kind of literary or

other project in mind?

A. No. I got the impression -- in fact,

we had to break the session several times

because he had coughing spells. This was a

man who was very sick who was like wanted to

come to confession to get his soul put



(901) 529-1999


Q. He is not here today, and this is the

first time he has not been here because he

has not been feeling well. So that's maybe

indicative of his health. Did you,

Ambassador Young, believe what you heard from

this man?

A. Well, I believed everything but the

fact that -- I believed he kind of knew what

was going on. He was trying to say that he

was innocent and he didn't know this was a

gun, he didn't look in the package

beforehand, and it wasn't until after the

event, but he was very well aware that there

was some planning.

In fact, he said one of the guys who

was in there in the restaurant at that table

was the fellow that was kneeling down over

Martin's body when -- that ran up there with

us when -- I think there is a picture where

when the police heard the shot, everybody

started running toward where Martin was, and

we were standing up there pointing back there

saying, it came from over there.

But they were running away from


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where the shot came from, and they couldn't

do anything there, and we were trying to get

them to go back over to see where -- see who

had fired the shot. And that picture that

has been shown all over the world, there is a

fellow kneeling there who he says was the

fellow who was in the restaurant a few days

before with two Memphis policemen and two

guys that he said looked like federal men.

Well, he said government, government men.

Q. It is a historical fact that that

kneeling figure is an undercover police

officer named Merrell McCullough. He is


Ambassador Young, I'd like you to

listen to just a bit of this tape to ensure

that this in fact is the recording that you

recognize of the meeting and authenticate it

not in its entirety but at the beginning in

terms of those people present.

(Tape played as follows:

Dexter, what you been up to? Mr. King: Well,

I've been keeping busy, just working hard.)

MR. PEPPER: Stop there.


(901) 529-1999


Q. (BY MR. PEPPER) Do you recognize that

first voice?

A. I recognize Dexter's voice.

Q. Did you recognize the first person


A. No, I didn't.

(Tape continued to be played as

follows: Mr. Jowers: You know who I am,

don't you? Mr. King: I do, I do.)

A. That's Mr. Jowers.

(Tape played: Mr. King: I was

working late one night in my office when I

talked to you. Yeah. You know, keeping all

things moving forward and just still trying

to deal with this issue. This is a very

trying issue because, as you know, my family,

particularly my mother, have been concerned

about, because the media has been very

vicious. Mr. Jowers: Oh, yeah. Mr. King:

In trying to discredit, an attack, you know,

on the family, and we hope we would get to

the bottom of this so we can move on. I

think in order to have true closure, you have

to -- you know, you have to get it out. You


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have to get it out in the open. So we

appreciate your willingness to open up and

come forward. As you know, we continue to

support immunity for you. As you know, the

District Attorney doesn't seem like they want

this story to come out. So it appears they

are shoving everything down. I think that

would be a major tragedy. Mr. Jowers: Oh,

it would be. Mr. Young: I don't think I

would be out of order in saying if something

happened and you were indicted for anything,

then I would sure be willing to come over

here and testify on your behalf.)

MR. PEPPER: Do you recognize

your voice?

A. Yes, I do.

Q. Do you recognize those words?

A. I do. Because we were impressed with

the fact that -- well, we have always had a

no-fault analysis on this. We were not

trying to punish anybody.

We were approaching this more like

they approached it in South Africa, that in

order to have a real reconciliation, you have


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to know the truth. And that if you can get

the truth out -- I'm sure that a lot of

people that have a lot of terrible guilt

feelings like Mr. Jowers just don't have his

courage and are not probably as far along in

life as he is.

Q. Ambassador Young, as far as you can

hear at the outset and the beginning of the

tape, do you recognize the voices of

Mr. Jowers, yourself and Dexter King?

A. That's right.

Q. This is a tape-recording that was

made at the time?

A. It was made at a motel near the

airport in Little Rock.

MR. PEPPER: Thank you very

much. No further questions.



Q. Good afternoon, Ambassador Young.

How are you today?

A. Good.

Q. Let me ask you a few questions. I

promise you I won't keep you long.


(901) 529-1999


We just heard on the tape Mr. Jowers

I believe explained to you and Mr. Dexter

King that he had no knowledge that this

was -- that Dr. King was the target of this

assassination, said he didn't even know there

would be one. Am I correct, sir?

A. He did say that.

Q. He said he was simply carrying out

what he thought was a favor to someone that

he owed a favor to and was called upon to do

certain things in his restaurant?

A. And he said he did it because there

was a certain amount of fear that he had of

this person.

Q. The first time that Dr. King had

stayed at the Lorraine on this date or had he

stayed there before, the day of this -- on

this trip?

A. No. I think this -- I think he

lived -- when he came for the march, he

stayed downtown, or he was taken to a

downtown hotel. He didn't really have a

hotel room. He flew -- he left New York

early in the morning, like a six o'clock


(901) 529-1999


plane, and flew into Memphis and went to the

march or to the church, and it was after the

march was disrupted downtown that he was

taken to the Holiday Inn, I think, just to

get him out of the crowd and out of the mob.

Q. Now, you were down in the courtyard

when the shot was fired.

A. I was.

Q. You weren't able to tell exactly

where it came from or which direction it came


A. Yeah, I could tell that it came from

across the street.

Q. Did it first sound like a firecracker

or a car backfiring?

A. It sounded like a firecracker or a

car backfiring. I'll tell you, when I saw

the wound in Dr. King's body, I knew it had

to come from directly across the street.

Q. Did you have any discussion with

Mr. Dexter King about the previous meeting he

had with Mr. Jowers before this meeting that

we had?

A. I did.


(901) 529-1999


Q. Did Mr. King at that time also tell

you that Mr. Jowers indicated to him that he

had no knowledge that Dr. King was the target

of the assassination, had no idea if there

would even be an assassination when he was

called upon by someone to take whatever acts

he did?

A. I don't recall that he told me the

details. He simply said that since the

family was interested in giving amnesty to

everybody involved, that Mr. Jowers had come

forward and was willing to talk to the


Q. There was some effort put forth by

Reverend Lowery to try to get immunity for

Mr. Jowers. Am I correct, sir?

A. That's correct.

Q. I believe you and Mr. Dexter King and

all wanted immunity granted to him. Am I

correct, sir?

A. We really did, yes.

MR. GARRISON: That's all.

Thank you, sir.

THE COURT: Mr. Pepper.


(901) 529-1999


MR. WILLIAMS: Just briefly,

Your Honor.



Q. Ambassador, how long approximately

did that meeting -- roughly did that meeting

with Mr. Jowers take?

A. It was almost four hours, I think.

It was a long time. It was all afternoon.

Now, he was not talking all that time. We

had several breaks. But we were altogether I

think almost four hours.

Q. All tolled?

A. Yes.

Q. Was there a lot of repetition of

things said, questions asked and answers


A. There was some but not a lot. But

however we asked the question, Mr. Jowers

answers were pretty much consistent. And,

again, we were not cross-examining him trying

to refute anything he was saying. We were

simply trying to understand what actually

happened from his point of view.


(901) 529-1999


Q. Did you get an understanding at the

end of that period of time?

A. I got the understanding that he felt

as though he had been involved in the

assassination of Dr. King and he regretted it

very much. In fact, he said as much to


MR. PEPPER: Nothing further,

Your Honor. The tape that is here, your

Honor, is approximately two hours in length.

It covers the first two hours of that session

and all of that discussion. We move its

admission and would like it to be played to

the jury in its entirety on Monday.

THE COURT: Very well.

(The above-mentioned tape was

marked Exhibit 4.)

(Jury out.)

(The proceedings were adjourned

at 4:50 p.m.)


(901) 529-1999