Hampton Sides, Oral History


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Hampton Sides 2 min.mp3


Hampton Sides, Oral History


Hampton Sides, author of “Hellhound on His Trail” (published 2010, Doubleday), the stalking of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the international hunt for his assassin. Interviewed by phone while Friedman was on the air, so callers are part of the conversation.


Hampton Sides
Bob Friedman


Birmingham Black Radio Museum


May 15, 2010


Alex Smith
Emily Bibb








Bob Friedman


Hampton Sides


Transcript from audio snippet:

Hampton Sides: Anyone who, ya know, followed his movements would know that he was pretty flaky, he was very cagey, he didn't trust anyone or work with anyone. So he doesn't really seem like the kinda guy you would, you would hire for this sort of job.

Bob Friedman: And he was a petty stick up man too and robbed some banks and did some burglaries and that kinda thing.

HS: That was his MO mainly. Some fraud, some stick ups, armed robbery of grocery stores, and ya know, after he and also- ya know, he was a bit of an escape artist. He escaped from this maximum security prison in Missouri and was on the land for about a year before the assassination. Getting in to all kinds of thing like smuggling and fencing schemes and he says he was doing some gun running. He dabbled with porno. He wanted to because a porn director- livin’ out in Los Angeles. He also took dancing lessons. He graduated from a bartending school. He got into hypnosis. He got a nose job about a month before the assassination. So, ya know, there were a lot of weird things going on in his life in the month leading up to April 4th-

BF: But he's also a white separatist- he's also enamored with George Wallace's presidential campaign, right?

HS: Absolutely. Ya know, even though he's livin’ out in Los Angeles, he's got an ID from Alabama, he's got a car that he purchased right there in Birmingham. And he's working for the Wallace campaign as a volunteer. And writing letters to Rhodesia trying to figure out how he can immigrate there. So ya know there's a lot of, ya know, I think it's very common in all across America to talk about "Ray wasn't a racist." Well, ya know, evidence is very much to the contrary. He was a racist.

BF: Hey let's continue with the calls. Hampton Sides is on the phone, author of Hellhound on His Trail. Let's go here. Good morning you're on the air.

Caller 2: Yes I have a question for the author.

BF: Go right ahead.

Caller 2: Considering that President Kennedy was killed in Dallas and the President that succeeded Johnson was from Texas, do you in your mind, really think that J. Edgar Hoover wouldn't have assisted James Earl Ray in any inadvertent way that he could to help him to get away with what he'd done?


Full interview: 32 minutes
Audio snippet: 2 minutes


Hampton Sides and Bob Friedman, “Hampton Sides, Oral History,” The Birmingham Black Radio Museum, accessed March 1, 2021, http://thebbrm.org/item/92.

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