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The Awful Grace of God chronicles a multi-year effort to kill Martin Luther King Jr. by a group of the nation’s most violent right-wing extremists.
Impeccably researched and thoroughly documented, this book examines figurers like Sam Bowers, head of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan of Mississippi, responsible for more than three hundred separate acts of violence in Mississippi alone; J.B. Stoner, who ran an organization that the California attorney general said was “more active and dangerous than any other ultra-right organization;” and Reverend Wesley Swift, a religious demagogue who inspired two generations of violent extremists.

United in a holy cause to kill King, this network of racist militants were the likely culprits behind James Earl Ray and King’s assassination in Memphis on April 4th, 1968. King would be their ultimate prize—a symbolic figure whose assassination could foment an apocalypse that would usher in their Kingdom of God, a racially “pure” white world.

The Awful Grace of God opens by reminding us of exactly what happened in America with the onset of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s and moves through that period with a focus on violence targeting Dr. King, who had emerged as the symbol of peaceful protest.

Hancock and Wexler have sifted through thousands of pages of declassified and never-before-released law enforcement files on the King murder, conducted dozens of interviews with figures of the period, and re-examined information from several recent cold case investigations. Their study reveals a terrorist network never before described in contemporary history. They have unearthed data that was unavailable to congressional investigators and used new data-mining techniques to extend the investigation begun by the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
Martin Luther King
King would be their ultimate prize


The Awful Grace of God



" the book is most convincing in arguing that a Civil Rights Cold Case unit should investigate King’s murder, and that all files pertaining to the investigation should become publicly available."


"The best book to date on the MLK Assassination
Peter D. Scott
The two authors are meticulous about facts and sources. They clear away a lot of false stories about the King assassination, and also point to where a new investigation should begin. It is most heartening to see such a great new book.

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