• Lexi Ponder

Newly released document questions the legacy of MLK Jr.

President Donald Trump’s administration released a 20-page document regarding the secret life of Martin Luther King Jr. on Nov. 3, 2017. This information has led to King being shown in a negative light, potentially damaging his iconic reputation.

The document “attempts to tie” King to multiple communist influences and allegations on financial improprieties at the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which is the civil rights organization that he led. This document also mentions “insinuations and assertions about King’s personal life, including extramarital affairs and other sexual improprieties that would have been deeply embarrassing to King at the time,” according to CNN.

The FBI analysis questions whether or not King deserved the Nobel Peace in 1964. CNN also includes that the FBI’s main focus was to dig up dirt on this iconic man. In a section of the document, it labels the Southern Christian Leadership Conference “a tax dodge.” This also includes allegations that King’s associates had communist ties.

This document was written while the FBI was led by Director J, Edgar Hoover, who appointed investigators to follow and spy on King. Apparently the FBI was interested in his alleged connections with communism, which had been “long known.” According to CNN, Hoover authorized a surveillance program on King in the 1960s. This program was a part of the FBI’s larger domestic counterintelligence program, which ended in various reforms.

However, Clayborne Carson, the director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Research and Education Institute and a Stanford University history professor, has his doubts on these allegations, saying that it is clearly just someone who is trying to ruin King’s reputation.

In 1964, King’s wife, Coretta Scott King, opened a package for King containing various tapes and a letter saying for King to commit suicide. A line from the letter read: “There is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days.” According to CNN, “A Senate committee later confirmed the anonymous package had been sent by the FBI.”