Thursday, April 12, 2007

Remembering Dr King

A few months ago, I had the chance to stand in the footstep of Dr Martin Luther King Jr in Washington DC (you can see the actual speech here). Earlier this month, we marked the assassination of this remarkable man.

Early morning, April 4
A shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

Thus sing U2 about the event. But who were ‘they’? Like the other assassinations of the 1960s — the Kennedy brothers and Malcolm X — conspiracy theories abound. As Rage Against the Machine sing: They murdered King after he spoke out on Vietnam; ‘they’ being J Edgar Hoover. Hoover is also the ultimate villain in James Ellroy’s American Tabloid trilogy — I cannot wait for the TV adaptation, perhaps Anthony Hopkins will play Hoover, and Johny Depp one of the misfit protagonists.

In addition to who killed Dr King, there is another mystery here. You see, Dr King was shot in the evening, at about 6pm. So what do U2 mean by a shot ringing out in the early morning?