As Americans pause to commemorate what would have been Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 89th birthday, a new book chronicles the civil rights leader’s horrific assassination 50 years ago, the harrowing pursuit of his killer and the legacy he leaves with us today.
James L. Swanson is the author of “Chasing King’s Killer: The Hunt for Martin Luther King Jr.’s Assassin.” Swanson, who writes of these searing moments in history in the style of a novel, has also written on the assassinations of Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy and the pursuit of their assassins . . .
“I think Martin Luther King is one of the bravest men in American history, in a way more so than Abraham Lincoln or John Kennedy. Unlike them, Dr. King was under constant threat of death and harassment for over 10 years,” Swanson explained.
Swanson begins the book by recounting the 1958 attack on King’s life, when a deranged black woman named Izola Ware Curry stabbed King in the heart at a book signing event in Harlem. Later, the FBI kept very close tabs on King, and one official even sent a letter urging King to take his own life before receiving the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize . . .
“He could have gone back to private life and lived quietly as a husband, father and minister at his local church,” Swanson said. “But he said for this great cause, we must all be prepared to die. In fact, when John Kennedy was assassinated, Martin Luther King turned to his wife and said, ‘Well, you know that’s what’s going to happen to me.’” (Read more from “MLK ‘Knew’ He’d Be Gunned Down” HERE)