Buried in the government documents surrounding the death of President John F. Kennedy was an explosive FBI report about civil rights leader and icon Martin Luther King Jr. Even though the report had nothing to do with the JFK assassination, the Trump administration included the newly unsealed dossier in a trove of documents released Friday related to the Nov. 22, 1963, assassination of Kennedy in Dallas.
Commissioned by then-FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, the 20-page report is titled “Martin Luther King, Jr.: A Current Analysis” (pdf). It is dated March 12, 1968—curiously, less than a month before King was shot and killed on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn.
The report is rife with falsehoods, speculation and disproven allegations about King, including his ties to communism and stories about secret orgies with prostitutes and white women.
Because ... white people.
You know how today’s incarnation of suspicious, fragile white-power brokers now label every anti-establishment organization a “terrorist group”? Well, in the 1950s and 1960s, the term “communism” shrank the collective Caucasian anus and furrowed white brows with fear, so every group of people who dared to speak truth to power was saddled with the label “Marxist” or “communist.”
Specifically, the report ties King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference to the Communist Party USA, a small, marginalized group with no influence by 1960. The details of the document allege that King and the SCLC were heavily influenced by Stanley Levinson, a lawyer and businessman who financed the party for years.
The dossier tries to tie King to the Communist Party through Levinson even though Levinson had left the party years before he met King. It insists that King’s Poor People’s Campaign was related to a secret communist agenda without offering any solid evidence.
Didn’t I just say the report was filled with lies? Are you even paying attention?
Instead of explaining it to you, I’ll just tell you what King told his trusted adviser Bayard Rustin in 1965 as King was crafting a statement announcing the unity of the civil rights organizations:
There are things I wanted to say renouncing communism in theory, but they would not go along with it. We wanted to say that it was an alien philosophy contrary to us, but they wouldn’t go along with it.
Part of the FBI’s allegations of communism is fueled by King’s stance against the Vietnam War, which some translated as support for the commuinist Viet Cong. Some of it is tied to the fact that King’s Poor People’s Campaign was seen by some melanin-impaired capitalists as un-American. King’s strategy of peaceful resistance is also closely affiliated with Karl Marx’s belief in the possibility of achieving equality through peaceful revolution.
There is no doubt that there were communists affiliated with the civil rights movement. Some of them were prominent supporters, but that does not mean that King or the entire movement for equality was a communist plot.
Some of the people reading this article hold unspeakably heinous beliefs, like putting sugar on grits. This publication even employs people who commit un-American acts like giving trick-or-treaters candy corn for Halloween or putting ketchup in the refrigerator. Corey Townsend, The Root’s social media editor, even confessed that he likes pumpkin-spice-related foods.
But none of these terrible acts means that everyone here at The Root is an evil, demented terrorist of taste buds.
Just say “orgies”; the “sex” part is understood. There aren’t any other kinds of orgies, although I have joined friends at a certain Atlanta restaurant for what can only be described as a “lemon-pepper-wing orgy.”
According to the analysis from the FBI, King’s associates held a workshop in 1968 in Miami to train a minister. The report states that some in attendance were disgusted with the whiskey drinking, homosexuality and fornication at the conference, including a sex show with prostitutes who engaged in activities “deviating from the normal sex acts.”
The report does not say that King was present at this event but details affairs by King, including one with singer Joan Baez and an alleged love child with the wife of a prominent Los Angeles dentist. The single source for this information is a “responsible” informant “in a position to know.”
Again, because ... white people.
None of this salacious detail negates the fact that King was fighting for the freedom or equality of black people. It does not dismiss the reality of Jim Crow, segregation, voter suppression, unequal housing, inferior education, state-sponsored terrorism or the unconstitutional, government-backed treatment of black people.
The only reasonable explanation for any of this is that it was an attempt to discredit MLK and, by proxy, the entire civil rights movement.
Hoover and the FBI used it in a number of ways. The FBI’s Counterintelligence Program, or COINTELPRO, tried to destroy the civil rights movement for years by casting it as a subversive, communist-backed agenda. The details in this report were ammunition for much of that FBI agenda. In November 1964, the FBI sent a letter to King telling him that it was aware of his extramarital affairs. The bureau threatened to release this information if King didn’t commit suicide.
Could you do me a favor and hold my lemon-pepper wing while I double over in laughter?
Jeff Sessions, the attorney general who controls the FBI, is known for calling the NAACP “un-American” and “communist-inspired.” A few months after he took office, an FBI report leaked that characterized the threat from “black identity extremists” as the new terrorist threat. Even the nonviolent group Black Lives Matter is often called a “terrorist organization” by members on the conservative side of the aisle.
If you believe that the day has passed when anyone concerned with justice or equality could be painted by right-wing zealots as evil, anti-American villains, just remember to turn on your television around 1 o’clock on a Sunday afternoon and watch the Caucasian crowd members boo NFL players for kneeling quietly during the national anthem, or read one of the many right-wing rags’ desperate attempts to tie former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick to communism.
The FBI dossier proves that Martin Luther King Jr. was the victim of a coordinated, government-funded effort to suppress the civil rights movement. President Donald Trump’s release of the documents provides additional fuel for those who seek to denigrate anything black and outspoken because their history of complicity gives them the heebie-jeebies. Because they are too willing to believe that a civil rights legend was a communist and sexual deviant, but not that their dear, pumpkin-colored, pussy-grabbing president is a sexual assaulter. Because that would mean that they were on the wrong side of history for more than a quadruple century.
Because ... white people.
Read more at the Washington Post.