1838: Fayette County and Somerville Trail of Tears

John Bell marches several hundred Native Americans by foot from east Tennessee into Fayette County, through downtown Somerville, into Memphis, and across the Mississippi River into Arkansas.

1839 - 1846: Somerville Pastor and Slave Owner, William Meek McFerrin

White Slave Owner of John McFerren's Forefather

1846 - 1863: Julius Jones Slave Narrative

January 7, 1861: Tennessee Governor Cites Slave Owner Rights as Reason for Secession

In his pre Civil War speech, Tennessee Governor Isham G. Harris cites the rights of slave owners as justifiable cause for the State of Tennessee to secede from the Union. In his speech, Harris uses the words "slave" and "slavery" a total of 56 times, refuting the popular but false Southern claim that the Civil War was NOT about slavery.

1865: Fayette County Planter Edmund Taylor Loses Slaves

Wealthy landowner and leader of Fayette County Edmund Taylor was forced to give up his slaves after the Civil War was won by the Union Army. Today, Fayette County Mayor Rhea "Skip" Taylor still holds firm to the farming roots set down by his forefather Edmund.

1915: Lynching of Thomas Brooks

1928 - 1932: Wilder Land Grab

1947: Three Generations of Wilders

1952: "USA Confidential" is Published

Book accuses Memphis of being a hotbed of "Black Hand" activity controlled by the New Orleans Mafia under Peter and Carlos Marcello. Book is sternly denounced by Memphis Mayors Boss Crump and Overton as well as Italian-American businessman John F Lucchesi. One of the book's authors is eventually assaulted by Frank Sinatra for writing critical info about the crooner.

1959: Senator John Wilder Opposes School Integration

1959: Jet Magazine, Trial of Burton Dodson

1959: FBI Spies on African Americans in Fayette County

1960: Mr. McFerren Goes to Washington

1960: Tennessee State Trooper Jerry Simmons Threatens John McFerren

1960: TIME Magazine, Scott Franklin, Allen Yancey Jr, and John McFerren

1960: Ebony Magazine, Voter Registration War

1960: Formation of Fayette County's "Tent City"

January 29, 1961: Fayette County Sheriff C.E. Pattat Jr. Spies on "Tent City" for FBI

April 18, 1961: Ernest Withers Spies on John McFerren for FBI

May 2 - 6, 1961: FBI Investigates Fayette County Election Commission

FBI Special Agents Gaffney and Busch investigate Fayette County Election Commission members J.R. Morton, Whitson Winfrey, and H.C. Sims with regard to their possible involvement in the black voter registration stonewall and land eviction case. All white defendants in the case are named in the report.

July 11, 1961: John McFerren Thanks JFK

March 1963: More Ernest Withers Spying on John McFerren

June - August 1963: John Wilder VS John McFerren

John Wilder represents Emma Jean Frazier in a paternity suit against John McFerren. Despite McFerren's assertion that he was not the father, and without a modern day DNA test, Wilder wins the suit.

JuLY 20, 1963: HOOKS, Lawson, SUGARMON, WILLIS Shot At in Fayette County

As civil rights leaders Benjamin Hooks, James Lawson, Russell Sugarmon, and AW Willis drive together from the Fayette County courthouse toward Shelby County, they are shot at by an unknown sniper from a convoy of pursuing cars. Fayette County Sheriff CE Pattat Jr. promised the men a protective escort out of town, but fell back just before the mob attacked.

1964: Teammates David Wilder and Bobby Riles Play Football

1965: Somerville Civil Rights Leader Allen Yancey Jr. Becomes FBI Confidential Informant

In 1965, Somerville resident, school teacher, and eventual local NAACP president Allen Yancey Jr. began secretly spying on his fellow Fayette County civil rights activists on behalf of the FBI. As paid confidential informant "ME 339 - R", Yancey regularly provided his handlers at the Memphis FBI field office with intelligence pertaining to the activities of his black friends and neighbors.

1965: McFerren VS. Fayette County Board of Education

John and Viola McFerren file suit against the Fayette County public school system on behalf of their son, John McFerren Jr. During the multi-year battle, several high-powered men from the opposition become involved, including wealthy landowner and county official Rhea V. Taylor Sr. Today, Rhea "Skip" Taylor continues his family's legacy of political control as the Fayette County Mayor.

April 3, 1968: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Makes His Mountaintop Speech

On a stormy night, at the Mason Temple in Memphis, MLK makes his last, and perhaps most famous speech less than 24 hours before his assassination the next day.

April 4, 1968, 5:15 PM: John McFerren Overhears Frank C. Liberto

Around 5:15PM on April 4th, while shopping at the 814 Scott St. produce warehouse in Memphis, McFerren overhears organized crime figure Frank C. Liberto order someone on the telephone to "Shoot the son-of-a-bitch on the balcony!". During a second phone call just a few minutes later, McFerren again overhears Liberto tell the same caller to "Go down to New Orleans and get your $5000.00 from my brother!"

April 4, 1968, 6:01 PM: Martin Luther King is Shot

Documentary filmmaker Joseph Louw takes several photographs starting 15 seconds after King is shot. The following 6 images have been placed in the exact order that Louw took them after the shooting.

April 6, 1968: John McFerren Examines Commercial Appeal Article

On April 6, 1968, the Memphis Commercial Appeal publishes an article describing the suspected gunman along with a sketch. Both John and his wife Viola McFerren examine the article. Afterward, John McFerren believes the description resembles a man he saw working at Frank C. Liberto's warehouse several times from mid to late 1967.

April 8, 1968: John McFerren meets with the MPD and FBI

In the dark morning hours of Monday, April 8, 1968, John McFerren is picked up in Somerville by friend Baxton Bryant and secretly driven to room 561 of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis to meet with attorney David Caywood, MPD Director Frank Holloman, MPD Homicide Chief N.E. Zachary, and FBI Special Agent Orville Vernon Johnson.

April 18, 1968, Shortly After 7:00 AM: John McFerren is Confronted by Robert Powers

Former Fayette County resident, Tennessee escaped convict, and current New Orleans truck stop owner Robert Powers makes an unexpected trip north from his Powers Junction business to Somerville just to say "hi" to the McFerrens. John McFerren is asked several strange questions about his plans for the day by Powers, and feels threatened by the odd encounter.

April 18, 1968, Afternoon: John McFerren Meets With William Sartor

After the unnerving encounter with Powers, John McFerren reaches out to Baxton Bryant who then calls TIME Magazine journalist William "Bill" Sartor. Sartor meets with McFerren in Somerville to investigate the Liberto, Powers, and New Orleans connections. While Sartor is at McFerren's gas station, two FBI agents also arrive to interview McFerren.

April 18, 1968, Afternoon: John McFerren Again Meets with the FBI

FBI Special Agents Robert Fitzpatrick and Andrew Sloan interrupt McFerren's meeting with Bill Sartor. As Sartor watches from a distance, Fitzpatrick and Sloan conduct a follow-up interview by questioning McFerren about Frank C. Liberto.

April 19, 1968, Morning: Bill Sartor Submits Report to TIME Magazine

After Special Agents Fitzpatrick and Sloan left the gas station, Sartor resumed his own interview with McFerren. By the next morning, Sartor had submitted an eight page report to his editors at TIME Magazine.

April 26, 1968: TIME Magazine Guts Sartor's McFerren Story

After conferring with officials at the Justice Department and FBI, the editors at TIME Magazine remove almost all of Sartor's report regarding McFerren's claims about Frank C. Liberto and James Earl Ray.

October 7, 1968: Bill Sartor is Shot in Memphis

While continuing his unpopular investigation into Memphis's connection to James Earl Ray and the New Orleans Mafia, Sartor is shot by men deemed as "robbers".

March 15, 1969: Ted Poston Writes New York Post Article About John McFerren & MLK

August 12, 1969: Julian and Gerald Pulliam Beat the Hobson Women

Store owner Julian Pulliam and his son Gerald drive to the home of the Hobsons and brutally beat three of the family's women in their own frontyard.

(The oral narratives below are taken from the book "Our Portion of Hell" written by Robert Hamburger)

September 7, 1969: Somerville Law Enforcement Uses Fire Hoses on Protestors

September 27, 1969: Dick Gregory Leads Somerville Demonstration

October 5, 1969: Fayette County Law Enforcement Confiscates Press Cameras

While legally photographing and documenting the upheaval in Somerville, several journalists are assaulted and robbed by local officers. Among the men attempting to steal the journalist's cameras is Fayette County Special Deputy, Billy Doyle.

December 15, 1969: John McFerren Chased, Beaten, and Arrested

January 10, 1970: John McFerren Uncovers 1969 Beating Conspiracy

With the assistance of his underground network of African American informants, John McFerren uncovers the conspiracy to beat him in December of 1969. At the behest of car dealer and Somerville Mayor I.P. Yancey, several black assailants chased, attacked, and tried to shoot McFerren.

January 1, 1971: John Wilder's Absence in New Orleans

According to Winfield Dunn's autobigraphy "From a Standing Start", departing Governor Buford Ellington suggested that John Wilder travel to New Orleans to watch the Sugar Bowl with the newly elected Governor Dunn. However, once the Governor's private plane lands in New Orleans, Wilder and his wife Marcelle make themselves scarce until the return flight back to Tennessee.

January 19, 1971: Memphis Mayor Henry Loeb Congratulates John Wilder

December 9, 1971: Journalist William Dean "Bill" Sartor Dies

While continuing his research into the MLK assassination, freelance reporter Bill Sartor dies at a remarkably young age while sleeping inside his parent's home in Waco Texas. Many suspect foul play, including Sartor's friend, John McFerren, who insists Bill was poisoned.

1975: John Wilder Welcomes Segregationist George Wallace

May 10, 1976: Lucchesi and Wilder Travel to Nashville to See Sinatra

Angelo Lucchesi, a well-known Memphian, Jack Daniels liquor salesman, and friend of Frank Sinatra travels with friends John and Marcelle Wilder to Nashville to watch Sinatra perform at the Grand Ole Opry. Angelo was also the younger brother of John and Eugene Lucchesi.

July 9, 1976: DOJ Attorneys Folsom and Walker Interview John McFerren

September 10, 1976: John McFerren is Shot by an Unknown Assailant

September 17, 1976: The House Select Committee on Assassinations/HSCA is Formed

June 22, 1978: John McFerren Signs HSCA Affidavit

Under the direction of DOJ attorney Gene Randolph Johnson and D.C. Metro Police Inspector Ernestine Gary Johnson, John McFerren unwittingly signs a falsified affidavit that is submitted to the House Select Committee on Assassinations. McFerren, unaware of what the affidavit indicates due to his illiteracy, signs it only to later refute its contents.

January 2, 1979: House Select Committee on Assassinations Publishes Report

The U.S. House Select Committee on Assassinations or HSCA releases its report on the shootings of JFK and MLK. In the case of MLK, they conclude that there was most likely a conspiracy, but failed to name the conspirators. Below are pages of the report outlining some of the Shelby and Fayette County residents who were interviewed.

January 17, 1979: John Wilder Stops the Pardon of James Earl Ray

During a secret ceremony, John Wilder participates in the early swearing-in of incoming Tennessee Governor Lamar Alexander. In the process, outgoing Governor Ray Blanton is stopped from pardoning several Tennessee inmates, one of whom is James Earl Ray. It should be noted that in 1968, John McFerren linked James Earl Ray to Wilder's friend and law client, Frank C. Liberto.

1984: Robert Bell Covers for Boss, Frank C. Liberto

McFerren friend Robert Bell is arrested and questioned by the FBI for interstate transportation of stolen goods. Fearing retribution from Memphis organized crime, he keeps his mouth shut, refusing to implicate his boss, Frank C. Liberto. Bell goes to prison while Liberto remains free.

1985: Frank C. Liberto Dies

After Frank's death in early 1985, his body is transported from Memphis to New Orleans by his brother and eventually entombed with other Liberto family members.

1989: Tree Hanging of Stanley Burrow

1995: Wilder Tries to Silence Political Critic

March 1997: John McFerren, Sam Donaldson, and William F. Pepper

John McFerren is interviewed in March of 1997 by ABC PrimeTime Live news reporter Sam Donaldson. Little does the April 2, 1997 national television audience realize, William F. Pepper was standing just off camera during the pre-taped interview to ensure McFerren didn't let anything slip that was too sensitive.

1999 - 2001: Attorney General Janet Reno & Daphene McFerren

Not long after Attorney General Janet Reno begins her August 1998 investigation into the possible conspiracy to assassinate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., she hires Ms. Daphene R. McFerren as her legal counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice. Incredibly, Janet Reno, in her June 2000 report, deems John McFerren's past testimony as unreliable despite the fact that Reno's counselor, Ms. McFerren, is the youngest daughter of the very man Reno investigated, John McFerren.

1999: Silver Moon Cafe Burns

According to McFerren friend TR Wright, the Silver Moon Cafe in downtown Somerville was one of the meeting places of Frank C. Liberto and his attorney, John Wilder. Wright witnessed the two men meet regularly both before and after 1968. Liberto and Wilder were also seen discussing matters at Wilder's office which was only a handful of steps north of the cafe.

2004: Wilder Racist and Sexist Remarks

After Senator John Wilder's inflammatory remarks regarding women and African Americans, Mrs. Viola McFerren quickly comes to his defense despite the fact that Mrs. McFerren's ex-husband, John McFerren, had been harrassed by Wilder for decades.

2017: The Chimento - Liberto Connection

Randall Stephens uncovers the secret connection between Frank Liberto's brother Sal Liberto and Carlos Marcello's soldier Joseph "Zip" Chimento. Stephens' discovery corroborates John McFerren's 1968 testimony that Frank and Sal Liberto were involved with organized crime in the shooting of MLK.

December 19, 2017: Randall Stephens Interviews Jules "Ricco" Kimble

Randall Stephens travels to Louisiana to interview Jules "Ricco" Kimble, the notorious hitman for Carlos Marcello and the CIA. In his recorded interview, Kimble reveals to Stephens several important items about James Earl Ray, Frank C. Liberto, and the MLK assassination.

April 4, 2020: John McFerren Passes Away on the Anniversary of MLK's Death

Placed in a nursing home in 2019 and legally barred from visiting his store or communicating with his longtime friends ever again, John McFerren spends his final days with no freedom to speak of. In addition to his ankle monitor, Ms. Daphene McFerren, John's daughter, also pays a family friend during nursing home visitation hours to "guard" her father and insure Mr. McFerren doesn't speak with anyone about the King murder while he's confined to a bed. But as if still trying to have his voice heard, John McFerren drifts off to heaven on the 52nd anniversary of Dr. King's assassination in Memphis.