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Fred Jewell

Maximum security cell number 4 will be James Earl Ray's home at the Tennessee State Prison in Nashville, March 10, 1969
Vintage wire photograph on paper
9 x 6 3/4 in. (22.86 x 17.15 cm)

Creation Place: North America
Technique: Photography
Credit Line: Restricted gift of Michael Mattis and Judy Hochberg in honor of Myrlie Evers-Williams.
Accession Number: P2021.13.806

Ray's cell: maximum security cell number 4 will be James Earl Ray's home at the Tennessee State Prison in Nashville. Ray was sentenced today to serve 99 years for the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

James Earl Ray was an American fugitive and felon convicted of assassinating Martin Luther King, Jr. at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. Ray was convicted on his 41st birthday after entering a guilty plea to forgo a jury trial.

On recto: typewritten title and date.
On verso: manuscript title and Associated Press stamp.

Wire photographs were originally transmitted over phonelines, then later, by satellite. They were first used in the early 1920s. Associated Press became a leader with this. After pigment touch-ups, etc., the print is put into a drum (like a drum scanner). The image gets converted into audio tones that are transmitted. The tones are received and beamed onto photo-sensitive paper. Wire photographs are copies without originals---they are hybrid, transmitted objects. (Britt Salvesen, Curator and Department Head, Photography Department, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, March 30-31, 2022)

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  • Image Dimensions: 9 x 6 3/4 in. (22.86 x 17.15 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen
  • Sheet Dimensions: 9 5/8 x 7 9/16 in. (24.45 x 19.21 cm) Measured by Hudson, Karen

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