Casino buys bathtub where MLK assassin stood

The bathtub from which James Earl Ray shot the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., seen in its location in September 2002, as part of the expansion of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, Tenn.Greg Campbell / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

The flophouse bathtub James Earl Ray stood in to shoot the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. has been sold to an online casino for $7,600, the tub’s owner said Thursday.

The auction on eBay began March 20 and ended Thursday afternoon with Golden Palace Casino placing the winning bid, said D’Army Bailey, a Memphis judge who owned the tub.

Golden Palace has bought numerous historical or noteworthy artifacts for a traveling display. Its Web site on Thursday touted its purchase of four toilets formerly owned by late Grateful Dead musician Jerry Garcia.

Bailey said he has been assured that the casino will treat the tub “with sensitivity for its historical significance.”

The tub first went on sale in 2004 and drew a bid of $152,000, but eBay removed it over concerns the item might be considered offensive, particularly to King’s family.

But the Web site’s operators later decided the item met its guidelines for historical artifacts.

Bailey, one of the founders of the National Civil Rights Museum located at the site of King’s death, says he bought the tub in 1983 when the former rooming house was being renovated.

King was shot on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel while in Memphis to help lead a strike by city sanitation workers in 1968.