A new batch of 676 documents relating to the JFK assasination were released by the National Archives on Friday. Among them is a a report titled “Martin Luther King Jr., A Current Analysis,” dated March 12, 1968, less than a month before MLK himself was assasinated.
King’s salacious behavior is described at the end of the report, but perhaps even more troubling is the majority of its content which focuses on King’s extensive contact between members of the Communist Party USA (CPUSA), some of whom served as his personal advisors, and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) which he ran.
This information is not entirely knew, but to my knowledge it’s the first government record that has been released on the subject. The FBI records on King were sealed for fifty years in 1977, and were unavailable during the contentious debates that culminated in the passage of legislation through Congress that created a legal public holiday honoring King. It’s not clear if this file was inadvertently released or why it was included with the JFK assasination files.
The late Dr. Sam Francis, who was a congressional aide at the time of the MLK holiday debate and had his paper “Martin Luther King, Jr.: Political Activities and Associations,” read into the Congressional Record by Senator Jesse Helms, made the case against honoring King in “The King Holiday and Its Meaning”, nearly 20 years ago.
Though not without his merits and achievements as an orator and an inspirational icon to millions, MLK is a deeply flawed figure whose full biography has never been explored. His assasination in 1968 led to his near deification as a quasi-saint akin to Ghandi (another problematic individual), when at the time he was becoming increasingly enmeshed with the leftist, anti-Vietnam War movement, and struggling to stay relevant after the 1964 Civil Rights Act addressed many of the issues he had been fighting for. The issue of his plaigarism of large parts of his PhD dissertation, is another little known aspect of his character, and something I am acutely sensitive to as I write my own thesis.
I encourage you to read the FBI report on King below, which you can also download. This information is sure to generate controversy, but in an age when the names of outstanding American heroes like George Washington and Robert E. Lee are dragged through the mud, it’s necessary to introduce some balance into the equation and shine some light onto the activities of a man that’s presented as one of the greatest Americans in history. In the word’s of Dr. Francis:
It is quite true that a person`s sex life is largely his own business, but in the case of an internationally prominent figure such as King, they become publicly relevant, and they are especially relevant given the high moral stature King`s admirers habitually ascribe to him, the issue of his integrity as a Christian clergyman, and the proposal to elevate him to the status of a national moral icon.
Keep in mind that this 20-page report is just a fraction of the material that the FBI collected on King over nearly half a decade. For the sake of the truth and a better understanding of a person we are told we should revere, I hope we don’t have to wait another decade to see the rest.