When Martin Luther King echoed – “I have been to the mountaintop,” it’s not a metaphor, he is talking about a place, a real place on a little road outside of Tracy City, a poor small mountain town at the base of the Appalachia range in Tennessee. North of King’s flatland roots of Atlanta and Montgomery. And when king visited the Highlander School on the mountaintop it was the first time he had seen whites and blacks working together for a common cause – unified for better treatment and pay in the mines and elsewhere. Where racial tensions eased in the common bond of justice, being stronger united then divided. This is what King saw at the Highlander where Rosa Parks took adult courses prior to the bus strike in Montgomery Alabama, Where Woodie Guthrie sang “This Land is Your Land” and where “We Shall Overcome” was penned from an old slave song. And up this secret little mountain road outside Tracy City also went first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, driven to justice the same as the rest – twice.
Martin Luther king had “Been to the Mountaintop,” yes, but until the night before he was assassinated it was not to be spoken of, at least in public – not after an undercover FBI agent snapped a picture of King at the school and had it plastered on billboards with the caption “Martin Luther King at Communist School.” The FBI had by trick planted in the minds of many people that this mountaintop was a communist school, which it was not. And in an era of McCarthyism and a cold war that threatened nuclear annihilation, a fight on all fronts was too much even for King to overcome. He had no choice but to distance himself from the Highlander School for the good of the movement. That is until the night before he was murdered.
Most agree that in this famous speech, where he talks about his mortality, but was not afraid of dying, that King knew his life was in imminent danger. His presence, being back in Tennessee supporting a union fight of the Memphis Sanitation Workers, was mortally dangerous and he knew it. King was after all told that Union equals Communism. It was this very link that the John Birch Society and others used to claim the civil rights movement was merely a communist plot; up until that fateful time, King had mostly steered clear of union fights, again to avoid the label. And perhaps he was warned by people whose money you just don’t mess with.
But that night, King defiantly told the crowd he had “been to the mountain top” and he was no longer afraid (of them,) reclaiming his roots, he goes back to the place where as a young minister he was swept up in the Rosa Parks bus boycott that placed him on HIS path of destiny — the great man our leader of justice.
No longer avoiding the tag the Hoover administration put on him, King gave his great clue to his soon to be killer. I have been to the mountain top. The place where truth turns to secrets.
While admittedly not always the case, murder is usually done by those with a motive – revenge, money, anger passion, drugs jealousy and simply to shut someone up.
You could believe a young man like Adam Braseel, who stood maybe 5’8″ with no record or rumor of violence, devised a plan to drive up a little road outside of Tracy City, a place he had never been, unarmed, to the house of a rather large Maclolm Burrows, a dealer, who was reported to say he would “beat the hell out of” police chief Taylor, this man, he would scheme to lure out of his house, pull out a stick and beat to death, then go back to the mans house and attempt to kill his sister, only to be run off by what the prosecutor called the sickly son of the sister who was lying in the back room because of diabetes who all of sudden became quite the fighter. If you believe it.
Or you can believe that Malcolm Burrows had made many enemies in his drug business and his bid for mayor, enemies well publicized in the paper that the public and law enforcement knew about. Enemies in law enforcement who would have no problem if Malcolm was dead. Or those whose who simply wanted his money and drugs. The last people in the house would be Malcolm’s family and law enforcement and the investigator from the Sheriffs office, SGT Brown, who went through Malcolm’s house neither made a report or was made available to testify, yet was said to be putting things from the house into his trunk when the TBI arrived of which though there is no record, inventory or log.
Likewise, you could believe that some random guy just decided to Kill Martin Luther King – that it had nothing to do with the people known to be his enemies and messing with thier money, that he knew were going to try to kill him. How could King foreshadow some nut job James Earl Ray would try to kill him?
There are random acts of violence, we know this because that is news – the other 99 percent of homicides and assaults are not news, we know what those are about – ex wife – cheaters – kids – money – power and largely something to do with drugs.
Maybe there is a reason these two stories exist in the same place, hidden on little mountain roads in the poorest of counties whose people have been through so much – a place so incredibly unlikely for the greatest story of justice in American history. Yet it is true, and any one can verify this in minutes with a simple Google search to see what has been in front of our eyes all along.
But who will? Mark Twain had to say it: It’s easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled.