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Tucked in the JFK files was a Martin Luther King dossier that makes explosive accusations

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Martin Luther King Jr

In the midst of the John F. Kennedy assassination files, recently released by the White House, is a document that makes explosive accusations against Martin Luther King, Jr. From drunken orgies to ties to communism, the document’s allegations could shed a nasty light on one of the most beloved leaders in American history.

It was written three weeks before he was assassinated.

The African-American leader whose organization helped pave the way during the civil rights movement was being watched closely by the federal government. They seemed less concerned with his work for equal rights than they were for his alleged ties to the Communist Party in America.

The reason king enjoyed this close relationship with communists is is best explained by the fact that Levison, in February, 1962, passed the word to Gus Hall, General Secretary, CPUSA, “King is a whole-hearted Marxist who has studied it (Marxism), believes in it and agrees with it, but because of his being a minister of religion, does not dare to espouse it publicly.” Further, in March, 1962, Levison told a CPUSA functionary that King was concered about a “communist label” being “pinned on us” but that, at the same time, he wanted to do everything possible to evidence friendship toward the Soviet Union. In addition, King has been described within the CPUSA as a true, genuine Marxist-Leninist “from the top of his head to the tips of his toes.” The feeling within the CPUSA at the time was, and still is, that King definitely follows a Marxist-Leninist line.

There was a lot of fear in DC around this time. It should be noted that invoking communism as a way to attack a public figure was common. Whether these accusations were real or fabricated may never be known.

Another tidbit from the document seems much more likely to be factual. Elements were pushing for King to run for president on a “peace ticket” with famed anti-war protester Dr. Benjamin Spock as his vice president.

The fringe element Levison referred to was attempting to persuade King to run for President on a peace ticket. On April 19, 1967, Levison and Wachtel conferred concerning King’s political possibilities. According to Wachtel, a pacifist group was meeting that day in an effort to get King to agree to run for President with Dr. Benjamin Spock, the antiwar agitator, as his Vice Presidential candidate. Both Levison and Wachtel agreed that it was too early and that King should not agree to run at this time.

The CPUSA again seized the opportunity to cause dissension and unrest in the country by announcing they would support King and Spock on a peace ticket. At a May Day, 1967, program in Berkeley, California, Gus Hall stated, “The Party forces should begin work right now to elect these two men because they are for peace in Vietnam.”

Early in May, 1967, Levison was still concerned with King’s being identified with the peace movement rather than civil rights. When approached by peace groups attempting to get King to continue to run for President, Levison informed those representatives that King would talk on Vietnam on occasion to various groups, but that would be the extent of his involvement.

Mainstream media will highlight the stories in the document that call into question King’s morals, particularly regarding sexual indiscretions. The dossier is loaded with accusations. We’ll leave it to other media sources to focus on those.

What this means

King is a true American icon, someone who helped lead the transition to America’s modern era of equal rights and reduced bigotry. These documents may or may not paint him in a negative light’ it will depend on the disposition of the reader. Those who want him to remain an icon can either call the documents untrue or dismiss his alleged sins due to the great contributions he made. Those who want him to be disgraced will believe every word and attempt to tarnish his legacy.

The truth is likely somewhere in-between. Many in the government were quite paranoid five decades ago and were known to smear people they felt were challenges to the status quo. Our perceptions of the man and his legacy today may or may not be changed by these revelations.

Tread carefully. There should be a health skepticism but there also needs to be acknowledgement that the history books may not have the full story.

Further Reading

Explosive Martin Luther King document amid JFK files – BBC News

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-41871956The list of alleged indiscretions would likely have been deeply problematic for the civil rights leader if it had been made public in 1968.

The paper paints Dr King in an extremely negative light, despite his receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize and his contribution to passing the Civil Rights Act four years previously.

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