Why Did Laneisha Shantrice Henderson Try To Burn Down The Birth Home Of Martin Luther King Jr.?

Atlanta Cityscapes And City Views

Source: Raymond Boyd / Getty


There are a number of things that were not on my 2023 Bingo card. Those things include Anita Baker beefing with Babyface, Ice Cube cruising through South Central LA with Tucker Carlson, Larry Elder giving Charlamagne Tha God his “n*gga wakeup call,” and, of course, KK-Karen Reps Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert getting into a white-on-white crime beef on the House floor.

But it is the news of tourists from Utah stopping a Black woman in Atlanta from burning down the birth home of Martin Luther King Jr. that has me ready to throw this dusty little Bingo card in the trash and print up a fresh one for 2024.

That’s right, the woman seen in a viral video drenching the historical landmark in gasoline isn’t some disgruntled Klan fan who wants to make America Jim Crow again. Instead, the would-be arsonist has been identified as 26-year-old Laneisha Shantrice Henderson. (Black people read that name and didn’t even need to see the video or mugshot before we started covering our faces with secondhand embarrassment.)

According to the Atlanta Police Department, Henderson has been arrested and charged with second-degree arson and interfering with government property. She was taken to Grady Detention for a psychological evaluation and will be transferred to Fulton County Jail once she’s discharged.

In a short video clip, a bystander can be heard asking Henderson “What are you doing?” and noting that “that’s gasoline” she was dousing the outside of the house in. The video then cuts to a scene that shows a man pinning Henderson to the ground presumably waiting for the police to arrive.

From NBC News:

The tourists told officers they were on a work trip from Utah and wanted to visit the historical landmark, which is closed to the public. They said they saw Henderson outside pouring liquid on bushes but initially did not think anything of it, according to an incident report.

The tourists asked Henderson if she was tending to the plants, but she did not answer them. They asked her a few more questions and then noticed that she was carrying a gasoline container, police said.

“When they realized what was going on, they started to plead with Ms. Henderson to stop, but she was ignoring them,” according to the incident report. “It also seemed as if she started to rush and pour the gasoline out faster on and around the historical house.”

One witness told NBC affiliate WXIA-TV of Atlanta that he stood at the bottom of the stairs outside the home and told Henderson to stop “and blocked her for about a minute, kept blocking her from going up the stairs.”

Bystanders helped detain Henderson until officers arrived. The witnesses said that while they detained her, she allegedly tried to spark the lighter she was holding, the incident report stated.

So far, there has been no motive reported, and people are certainly wondering why a Black resident of Atlanta would be carrying on the white supremacist tradition of setting fire to buildings that hold significance to Black people. Is she a Get Out victim? Is she Clayton Bigsby come to life? Somebody should tell Henderson to blink twice if Candace Owens sent her.

Perhaps there will be something in Henderson’s psychological evaluation that will help explain why she would want to burn down the home of one of the most iconic leaders in the civil rights movement. Until then, we’re all just going to be scratching our heads.

Stay tuned.


Auntie Maxine Waters Presses Banks To Open Branches In Her District As Black Residents Face Accessibility Problems

Atlanta City Councilman Wants To Ban Hoodies And Ski Masks To Reduce Crime Despite Racial Profiling Fears

Rest In Power: Notable Black People Who Died In 2023
12th Annual "Love N' Courage" Tribute To Tammy Grimes
67 photos