Golden Palace.com, owner of Golden Palace Poker, has purchased the bathtub that James Earl Ray was standing in when he shot civil rights advocate Martin Luther King in 1968. The historical and political significance of the event and, by default, of the bathtub, had raised the eBay bidding into the thousands by the time Golden Palace.com was sold the tub for $7,600 on March 31, 2006.
The tub was being sold by its previous owner, Memphis, Tennessee, judge D'Army Bailey, one of the founders of the National Civil Rights Museum that is built on the site of King's death. According to the Internet gaming site, Bailey bought the tub in 1983 when the former rooming house was undergoing construction.
The southern judge initially attempted to sell the tub on eBay in 2004, at which time bidding reached a whopping $152,000. However, eBay removed the tub from the auction block amid concerns that its sale might be considered offensive, specifically by Martin Luther King's family. eBay later decided the tub did indeed meet their criteria for historical artifacts and again allowed it to be auctioned off.
A portion of the proceeds raised from the sale will be donated to the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Memphis, Inc., an organization that aims to make a positive difference in the lives of children and youth.
"We are proud to have bought this piece of American history and help a worthy cause by doing so," said GoldenPalace.com CEO Richard Rowe. "Martin Luther King continues to touch people's lives, and we will treat this item with respect worthy of his memory and legacy."