On April 4, 1967,
in a speech at New York's
Riverside Church, the Rev. Martin Luther
King Jr. denounced the Vietnam War as an "enemy of the poor" and criticized the U.S.
government as the "greatest purveyor of violence in the world." President Lyndon B. Johnson was enraged. Dr. King’s
popularity waned after this speech, and he was shot dead exactly one year later on April 4, 1968. James Earl Ray, a drifter
and ex-con, was convicted and sent to prison for the assassination of Dr. King, but Ray maintained his innocence until his
death in prison in 1998. Some, including Dr. King’s family, believe that James Earl Ray was part of a larger conspiracy
by the government to kill Dr. King.