The Big Issue : Edition 572
46 THE BIG ISSUE X MONTH – X MONTH 2017 CLICK WORDS BY MICHAEL EPIS » PHOTOGRAPH BY ALAMAY NEXT EDITION OF THE BIG ISSUE ON SALE... FRIDAY 19 OCTOBER Martin Luther King Jr’s family, 1968 A GIANT AMONG men was Martin Luther King Jr, the Baptist minister who summoned black America to march on Washington, where he inspired them to dream of a day “when my four little children will live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin but by the content of their character”. It was 50 years ago that King was standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, at 6.01pm on a Thursday night in April, when the assassin’s bullet rang out. A single shot from a Remington rifle lay King dead. James Earl Ray was the man who did the deed, a Southern racist lying in wait in the boarding house opposite. Two months later he was captured, in London, trying to catch a plane to the then Rhodesia, on a fake passport. Brought back to the US, he pleaded guilty to avoid execution, and was sentenced to 99 years’ prison, of which he served 29, before hepatitis got him. Mourning at rear is King’s brother, Alfred Daniel (“AD”). A fellow pastor, depressed and struggling with alcohol, AD was found dead a year later in his swimming pool. One of his six children, daughter Alveda, had left him by the pool the night before, after they watched a movie on TV. The finding was accidental drowning. Mourning too is the Kings’ mother, Alberta Williams King, a godly woman, who played organ in Atlanta’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her two sons had been the preacher. That was what she was doing one Sunday morning in June 1974, playing ‘The Lord’s Prayer’, when a man with two pistols stepped forth from the congregation, castigated the church and shot her dead. Despite seeming to be deranged, Marcus Wayne Chenault was sentenced to death, which was commuted to life. He served 21 years then died following a stroke. Martin Luther King Snr had been his intended target. King senior never did get shot – but he did get kidnapped. By Samuel L Jackson. In 1969 King was a board member at Morehouse College, Atlanta; Jackson was a student activist. Protesting students took King and other administrators captive for two days. The year before, Jackson had been an usher at the funeral of King junior. Jackson has lived the dream – he is the most popular actor of all time, measured by the dollars taken by the movies he’s been in. Strange world.