The Kneeling Man w/ Leta McCollough Seletzky

30 Mar 2023 – 19:00 BST
Trouble Club
Mortimer House
37-41 Mortimer Street

Join author and essayist Leta McCullough Seletzky at Trouble Club for a talk about The Kneeling Man, her debut memoir about her her father’s life as a Black spy who witnessed the assassination of Martin Luther King.

About the book

In the famous photograph of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. on the balcony of Memphis’s Lorraine Motel, one man kneeled down beside King, trying to staunch the blood from his fatal head wound with a borrowed towel.

This kneeling man was a member of the Invaders, an activist group that was in talks with King in the days leading up to the murder. But he also had another identity: an undercover Memphis police officer reporting on the activities of this group, which was thought to be possibly dangerous and potentially violent. This kneeling man is Leta McCollough Seletzky’s father.

Marrell McCollough was a Black man working secretly with the white power structure, a spy. This was so far from her understanding of what it meant to be Black in America, of everything she eventually devoted her life and career to, that she set out to learn what she could about his life, his actions and motivations. But with that decision came risk. What would she uncover about her father, who went on to a career at the CIA, and did she want to bear the weight of knowing?

About the author

Leta McCollough Seletzky is a National Endowment for the Arts 2022 Creative Writing Fellow whose work has been featured in The Atlantic; The New York Times; O, The Oprah Magazine; The Washington Post and elsewhere. Her essay ‘The Man in the Picture,’ published in O, The Oprah Magazine, was selected as a Notable Essay in BEST AMERICAN ESSAYS 2019.

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