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Redemption: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Last 31 Hours

Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Registration is NOT required
Members Free and Non-members Free with admission ($10)

The Written World: The Power of Stories to Shape People, History, Civilization

Martin Puchner 

Redemption is an intimate look at the last thirty-one hours and twenty-eight minutes of King's life. King was exhausted from a brutal speaking schedule. He was being denounced in the press and by political leaders as an agent of violence. He was facing dissent even within the civil rights movement and among his own staff at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. In Memphis, a federal court injunction was barring him from marching. As threats against King mounted, he feared an imminent, violent death. The risks were enormous, the pressure intense.

Drawing on dozens of interviews by the author with people who were immersed in the Memphis events, Redemption features recently released documents from Atlanta archives, and includes compelling photos. The fresh material reveals untold facets of the story including a never-before-reported lapse by the Memphis Police Department to provide security for King. It unveils financial and logistical dilemmas and recounts the emotional and marital pressures that were bedeviling King. Also revealed is what his assassin, James Earl Ray, was doing in Memphis during the same time and how a series of extraordinary breaks enabled Ray to construct a sniper's nest and shoot King.

Redemption is an "immersive, humanizing, and demystifying" (New York Times) look at the final hours of Dr. King's life as he seeks to revive the non-violent civil rights movement and push to end poverty in America.

Joseph Rosenbloom is an award-winning investigative journalist. He has been a staff reporter and editorial writer for the The Boston Globe; an investigative reporter for Frontline; and a senior editor and features writer for Inc. magazine. He's written for magazines and newspapers, including The Boston Globe Magazine, International Herald-Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The American Lawyer and The American Prospect. Rosenbloom has a B.A. in history from Stanford University and a J.D. from Columbia University Law School. He lives in West Newton, Mass.

Martin Luther King’s work in the civil rights movement coincided with when Alan Rohan Crite was making his artwork. Crite was a significant biographer of urban African-American life in Boston during the 1930s and 1940s.  After exhibiting work at the Boston Athenæum in 1948, 1951, and 1968, Crite donated a large collection of his work to the Athenæum in 1971, including oil paintings, watercolors, ink drawings, and prints. View a selection of Crite’s watercolors and drawings online or some of his paintings which are on view in rooms throughout the building, including the Bornheimer Room and the Membership Office.