Photo 15 Jan 972 notes The FBI’s Attempt to Blackmail Martin Luther King Into Suicide
Jan. 18 2011
I mentioned this on Twitter yesterday, and promised to post about it today. The day’s kind of gotten away from me, so this’ll be as quick as I can make it.
In November 1964, weeks before Martin Luther King was to travel to Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, an anonymous correspondent sent him a package in the mail. The package contained an audiotape, and a letter.
The tape was a compilation of material recorded via Bureau wiretaps over the previous year. It consisted of off-color jokes and remarks King had made in private, among friends, interspersed with the sounds of him having sex with someone other than his wife. The letter included the following challenge:

King, look into your heart. You know you are a complete fraud and a great liability … you are no clergyman, and you know it. … You could have been our greatest leader. You, even at an early age have turned out to be not a leader but a dissolute, abnormal moral imbecile. … You are done. Your “honorary” degrees, your Nobel Prize (what a grim farce) and other awards will not save you. King, I repeat you are done. No person can overcome facts, not even a fraud like yourself. … The American public, the church organizations that have been helping — Protestant, Catholic and Jews will know you for what you are — an evil, abnormal beast. So will others who have backed you. You are done.
King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days in which to do [it]. … 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 letter was mailed 34 days before Christmas.
King did not receive the package until after he returned from Oslo, and after the 34-day deadline had passed. When he listened to the tape he quickly concluded that it could have come from only one source — the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
He was right.
The FBI had been wiretapping King for over a year by then, and Bureau chief J. Edgar Hoover made no secret of his loathing for the civil rights leader. The suicide package was prepared by Hoover deputy William Sullivan, an Assistant Director of the Bureau and the head of its Domestic Intelligence Division.
When you teach American history, as I do, you get asked about conspiracies a lot. As it happens, I’m skeptical about some of the biggest conspiracy theories out there — unlike nearly all of my students, for instance, I think it’s highly likely that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.
But I’m not one to ridicule such theories, either, and I find the smug dismissal with which they’re so often greeted deeply obnoxious. Because forty-six years ago one of America’s highest ranking law enforcement agents launched a secret campaign intended to blackmail the country’s most prominent civil rights activist into committing suicide.
That’s not a theory, it’s a fact. And once you know that, it gets a lot harder to dismiss other people’s stories of shadowy government goings-on.

The FBI’s Attempt to Blackmail Martin Luther King Into Suicide

Jan. 18 2011

I mentioned this on Twitter yesterday, and promised to post about it today. The day’s kind of gotten away from me, so this’ll be as quick as I can make it.

In November 1964, weeks before Martin Luther King was to travel to Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, an anonymous correspondent sent him a package in the mail. The package contained an audiotape, and a letter.

The tape was a compilation of material recorded via Bureau wiretaps over the previous year. It consisted of off-color jokes and remarks King had made in private, among friends, interspersed with the sounds of him having sex with someone other than his wife. The letter included the following challenge:

King, look into your heart. You know you are a complete fraud and a great liability … you are no clergyman, and you know it. … You could have been our greatest leader. You, even at an early age have turned out to be not a leader but a dissolute, abnormal moral imbecile. … You are done. Your “honorary” degrees, your Nobel Prize (what a grim farce) and other awards will not save you. King, I repeat you are done. No person can overcome facts, not even a fraud like yourself. … The American public, the church organizations that have been helping — Protestant, Catholic and Jews will know you for what you are — an evil, abnormal beast. So will others who have backed you. You are done.

King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days in which to do [it]. … 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 letter was mailed 34 days before Christmas.

King did not receive the package until after he returned from Oslo, and after the 34-day deadline had passed. When he listened to the tape he quickly concluded that it could have come from only one source — the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

He was right.

The FBI had been wiretapping King for over a year by then, and Bureau chief J. Edgar Hoover made no secret of his loathing for the civil rights leader. The suicide package was prepared by Hoover deputy William Sullivan, an Assistant Director of the Bureau and the head of its Domestic Intelligence Division.

When you teach American history, as I do, you get asked about conspiracies a lot. As it happens, I’m skeptical about some of the biggest conspiracy theories out there — unlike nearly all of my students, for instance, I think it’s highly likely that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.

But I’m not one to ridicule such theories, either, and I find the smug dismissal with which they’re so often greeted deeply obnoxious. Because forty-six years ago one of America’s highest ranking law enforcement agents launched a secret campaign intended to blackmail the country’s most prominent civil rights activist into committing suicide.

That’s not a theory, it’s a fact. And once you know that, it gets a lot harder to dismiss other people’s stories of shadowy government goings-on.

  1. nappyhead19 reblogged this from descentintotyranny
  2. fundownunder reblogged this from descentintotyranny and added:
    Never knew this
  3. shays-psychedelic-breakfast reblogged this from descentintotyranny
  4. charczar27 reblogged this from studentactivism
  5. mentalmethod reblogged this from hernameiskayla
  6. hernameiskayla reblogged this from silence-is-betrayal
  7. stealing-your-despair reblogged this from skylikethat
  8. reptiliad reblogged this from skylikethat
  9. skylikethat reblogged this from descentintotyranny
  10. colloquialmindofablackboylost reblogged this from descentintotyranny
  11. khromejio reblogged this from descentintotyranny
  12. meetyoursurvivalism reblogged this from journeytogold
  13. humansascrnaments reblogged this from descentintotyranny
  14. sherunningshit reblogged this from ohthatskhalilwill
  15. imlizthedancer reblogged this from studentactivism
  16. iamslothpope reblogged this from thisismysoliloquy
  17. theyellowlighter reblogged this from thisismysoliloquy
  18. with-flowersinherhair reblogged this from alittlesummerwind
  19. alittlesummerwind reblogged this from theywontgo
  20. motveitional reblogged this from theywontgo
  21. theywontgo reblogged this from thisismysoliloquy
  22. thisismysoliloquy reblogged this from grimkvlt
  23. poetic-njustice reblogged this from hausofcarterr
  24. hausofcarterr reblogged this from simpleekayla
  25. simpleekayla reblogged this from descentintotyranny
  26. itsnotaconspiracy reblogged this from imperialintuition
  27. imperialintuition reblogged this from silence-is-betrayal

Design crafted by Prashanth Kamalakanthan. Powered by Tumblr.