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Reflections on the Film “Selma” and the Recent Martin Luther King Holiday


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COMMENT: The recent Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. hol­i­day and the film “Sel­ma” bring to mind a num­ber of things.

King was a remark­able man–the real deal, in a way that is sore­ly missed.

Polit­i­cal come­di­an Mort Sahl (one of New Orleans DA Jim Gar­rison’s inves­ti­ga­tors dur­ing his inves­ti­ga­tion of the JFK assas­si­na­tion) observed in 1995: “In the ’60’s, we had Mar­tin Luther King with ‘I have a dream.’ Now, we have Jesse Jack­son with ‘I have a scheme.’ 


With the so-called “pro­gres­sive” sec­tor in thrall to Al Sharpton–alleged by War­ren Hinck­le in the San Fran­cis­co Exam­in­er (a major urban dai­ly news­pa­per at the time) to have worked for the CIA in Grenada–the con­trast between the shal­low, inflam­ma­to­ry “Rev­erend Al’s” cheesy rhetoric and gar­ish styling and the elo­quent, dig­ni­fied, inspired and inspir­ing King could not be more dra­mat­ic.

It is also very, very sad to note how peo­ple will cel­e­brate King’s life and ignore the deeply con­spir­a­to­r­i­al cir­cum­stances sur­round­ing his death.

One of the sig­na­ture inci­dents in the civ­il rights move­ment of the 1960’s was the bomb­ing of the 16th Street Bap­tist Church in Birm­ing­ham, Alaba­ma. The bomb­ing was one of the events depict­ed in the film “Sel­ma.”

In AFA #8, we not­ed the evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries between that bomb­ing and the assas­si­na­tion of Dr. King. Oth­ers were dis­cussed in AFA #9. Some points made about Dr. King’s slay­ing in our archives:

  • James Earl Ray–the pat­sy in the Mar­tin Luther King assassination–was rail­road­ed into prison.
  • His “defense” attor­neys are note­wor­thy, in this con­text.
  • One of them was Arthur Hanes, Sr., a CIA con­tract agent in the Bay of Pigs and a for­mer FBI spe­cial agent, who thought the civ­il rights move­ment was com­mu­nist-inspired.
  • Hanes was the may­or of Birm­ing­ham, Alaba­ma at the time of the 16th Street Bap­tist Church bomb­ing and many of the oth­er inci­dents that took place under the super­vi­sion of “Bull” Connor–in charge of Birm­ing­ham law enforce­ment at the time.
  • Hanes was also the defense attor­ney for KKK mem­ber Robert Cham­b­liss, con­vict­ed of the 16th Street Bap­tist Church bomb­ing.
  • In The Guns of Novem­ber, Part IV, we not­ed that Joseph Adams Milteer–a mem­ber of the fas­cist Nation­al States Rights Party–was taped by an under­cov­er Mia­mi police informer dis­cussing impend­ing plans to assas­si­nate both JFK and Dr. King using high-pow­ered rifles with tele­scop­ic sights. Mil­teer linked these plots with the 16th Street Bap­tist Church bomb­ing.
  • The head of the Nation­al States Rights Party–Jesse Stoner–was anoth­er of James Earl Ray’s “defense” attor­neys.
  • Jer­ry Ray–James Earl Ray’s brother–was a mem­ber of the Nation­al States Rights Par­ty.



2 comments for “Reflections on the Film “Selma” and the Recent Martin Luther King Holiday”

  1. Mr. Emory,
    What do you make of Mark Lane’s book “Code Name Zor­ro” (lat­er reprint­ed as “Mur­der in Mem­phis)? I find it a decent book, espe­cial­ly in that it details his inter­views with the lady that sup­pos­ed­ly wit­nessed Ray mak­ing his get­away after the shoot­ing. This lady, I can’t remem­ber her name, was com­mit­ted to a men­tal health facil­i­ty to pre­vent her from talk­ing and was held there for most of her remain­ing life. Lane describes how the facil­i­ty’s secu­ri­ty guards attempt­ed to pre­vent him from leav­ing with his inter­view tape.

    Posted by Sampson | January 21, 2015, 6:22 am
  2. @Sampson–

    Not a bad book, in, and of, itself.

    I don’t care for Mark Lane, how­ev­er.

    As to the lady in ques­tion, stretch out with AFA #8 and you’ll find out more about her, includ­ing that Mark Lane attempt­ed to get her to Jon­estown, where she would have died, dur­ing the course of the House Select Com­mit­tee on Assas­si­na­tions’ pub­lic hear­ings on MLK’s killing.



    Posted by Dave Emory | January 21, 2015, 4:21 pm

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