Civil Rights Leaders on Jackie Kennedy

Fauntroy, Jackson and others respond to the former first lady's remarks about MLK, made years ago.

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Martin Luther King Jr; Jacqueline Kennedy (William H. Alden; CBS Photo Archive/Getty)

Civil rights leaders and associates of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. had mixed reactions to the disparaging comments that former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy made about King.

Kennedy's comments are published in a new book entitled Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life With John F. Kennedy.

The book is based on interviews she had with former Kennedy aide Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., with specific instructions that they were not going to be made public until after her death.

She called King a "phony" after she heard that there were FBI tapes of King with women in his hotel. Kennedy also criticized King for mocking Cardinal Richard Cushing, who celebrated Mass during her husband's funeral at St. Mathews Cathedral.

"He made fun of Cardinal Cushing and said that he was drunk at it," she said. "And things about they almost dropped the coffin. I just can't see a picture of Martin Luther King without thinking, you know, that man's terrible."

Rev. Walter Fauntroy, the former D.C. delegate to Congress, was King's White House liaison to Kennedy, and he later became the chairman of the House Select Committee on the Assassination of Martin Luther King.

"I make allowance for her doubting the integrity of Martin Luther King. We often have mistaken views of a person," Fauntroy said. "I am not going to trouble myself on a statement made by a 30-year-old woman made under great stress. All of us are fallible, all of us are prone to accept what is not true."

Read what other civil rights leaders, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson, had to say at The Root DC.

Find more black news and opinion from the Washington, D.C., area at The Root DC.

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