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The Death of a Dreamer

By Elton Camp

He knew his enemies wanted to slay
But didn’t expect it to be that day

To black-owned business wanted to be fair
To lodge at the elegant Peabody didn’t care

He chose a room at Lorraine Motel
Thus came a horrible story to tell

In a flophouse two blocks away
Arrived an evil man that fatal day

“An ideal room that can’t be beat
It gives a clear view of the street.”

“Everything I need in this place
Fits into this long, black case.”

From his window toward the back
Of the Dreamer could keep track

He saw timing of his outs and ins
With a small group of his friends

He raised window, took careful aim
Ready to shoot next time he came

Then the Dreamer stepped outside
He saw no reason to fear or hide

He placed his finger on the trigger.
“Now, I’m gonna kill a nigger.”

When the shots rang out,
There was an awful shout

The Dreamer crumpled onto the floor
From him would come dreams no more

That he was perfect, none would claim
But his cause was the source of his fame

Millions the Dreamer’s death did bewail
In contempt held the man who did assail

But the Ku Klux Klan had this to say:
“God, please, bless James Earl Ray.”

Copyright © Elton Camp


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  1. Date: 2/1/2016 5:49:00 AM

    Hi Elton. This is a very powerful poem that brings back many memories of that time in history. This 7 is so well written and I appreciate you sharing..... Robert.
  1. Date: 1/18/2016 4:53:00 PM

    i was on vacation in memphis a few years ago and visited the lorraine motel (a museum now) and it was a very surreal experience. you've described the execution very well, elton, without even mentioning his name. well done!
  1. Date: 1/18/2016 4:20:00 PM

    interesting write Elton..