FBI’S ‘sui­cide note’ to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. re­vealed 50 years later

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL - By

Sasha Gold­stein NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was called “an evil, ab­nor­mal beast” in an anony­mous let­ter FBI agents sent the civil rights leader in 1964 in an ef­fort to get him to com­mit sui­cide, a newly pub­lished, unredacted ver­sion of the note, shows.

The disturbing mis­sive, which de­tails in­ti­mate knowl­edge of King’s ex­tra­mar­i­tal af­fairs, was sent in the days be­fore he was to re­ceive the Nobel Peace Prize and is writ­ten un­der the guise of a civil rights sup­porter angry with the move­ment’s leader.

A dead­line of 34 days is given be­fore King is outed as a wom­an­izer, the mis­sive, filled with gram­mat­i­cal er­rors, threat­ens.

“You are done. There is but one way out for you. You bet­ter take it be­fore your filthy, ab­nor­mal, fraud­u­lent self is bared to the na­tion,” the onepage let­ter, ob­tained by Yale pro­fes­sor Bev­erly Gage and printed in The New York Times, reads.

“Long threat­ened by the rise of the pow­er­ful black min­is­ter, the ef­forts of for­mer FBI Di­rec­tor J. Edgar Hoover to dis­credit King have since been re­vealed and shine a disturbing light on gov­ern­ment over­reach and mis­con­duct dur­ing the Jim Crow era”, Gage says of her re­search into a biog­ra­phy of the once-vaunted law en­force­ment head.

Though pre­vi­ously re­leased in a heav­ily edited form, Gage found the orig­i­nal copy, free of redac­tions, among doc­u­ments at the Na­tional Ar­chives in Col­lege Park, Md.

King and Hoover had a strained and con­tentious re­la­tion­ship, ev­i­denced by Hoover’s pub­lic claim that King was “the most no­to­ri­ous liar in the coun­try.” And once the FBI, look­ing to dis­credit King and his re­la­tion­ship with a Com­mu­nist sym­pa­thizer, be­gan to bug his home and of­fice, Hoover de­clared King “a tom cat with ob­ses­sive de­gen­er­ate sex­ual urges” after hear­ing ev­i­dence of adul­tery.

“Lend your sex­u­ally psy­chotic ear to the en­clo­sure,” the let­ter reads, re­fer­ring to a tape record­ing of in­ci­dents of adul­tery.

The let­ter, writ­ten by FBI agent Wil­liam Sul­li­van and even­tu­ally opened by King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, de­scribes King as a fraud par­tic­i­pat­ing in “im­moral con­duct lower than that of a beast.”

“King, look into your heart. You know you are a com­plete fraud and a great li­a­bil­ity to all of us Ne­groes,” it reads.

King from the start sus­pected the FBI was be­hind the scathing note, but was un­fazed. It was only a decade later, years after King was as­sas­si­nated and Hoover died, that the truth came out.

Ac­cord­ing to Gage, cur­rent FBI Di­rec­tor James Comey keeps a copy of the agency’s King wire­tap re­quest on his desk “as a re­minder of the bureau’s ca­pac­ity to do wrong.” sgold­stein@ny­dai­lynews.com

A disturbing mis­sive, writ­ten as if by an anony­mous, dis­il­lu­sioned civil rights sup­porter, promised to re­veal King as an adul­ter­ous fraud if he did not kill him­self in

34 days.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.