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 examines figures 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.
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.
The Awful Grace of God offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date study of the King assassination and presents a roadmap for future investigation.