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Memphis and Dallas share stigma

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By HAMPTON SIDES / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Editor's note: On the 42nd anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s death, best-selling author Hampton Sides reflects

on the impact the assassination had on his hometown of Memphis and the tragic stigma the city now shares with Dallas.

.....Then, too, there are the similarities of the two presumed assassins. Though Lee Harvey Oswald was a left-winger, and Ray a right, the two men shared many traits. Both were loners, troubled but also ambitious, cunning but none too swift. Each was a non-native to the city where he fired his shot. Each was a restless traveler desperately in search of something. Like Oswald, Ray had ties to New Orleans and Mexico. Like Oswald, Ray claimed he was innocent. During the early 1960s, when Ray was serving prison time in Missouri, he became an aficionado of the Kennedy assassination. He liked to analyze the mistakes that Oswald had made and talked to fellow inmates about what he would have done differently.

Journalist Gerald Posner, who wrote acclaimed books on both cases and spent considerable amounts of time in both Dallas and Memphis, notes that both cities took their assassinations particularly hard. "Both felt a sense of inferiority afterward," Posner told me, "and for the longest time, the town fathers wanted to ignore, or even obliterate, the assassination sites because they were considered blights and embarrassments." But for a handful of forward-thinking people in both cities, the Lorraine and the Book Depository would have succumbed to the wrecking ball.

Complete article:


More on Hampton Sides new book Hellhound on His Trail: The Stalking of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the International Hunt for His Assassin (Doubleday, April, 2010):


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