Wiretapped, eavesdropped on, and, eventually, killed; from the mid 1950’s until his assassination in 1968, the FBI obsessed over trying to paint Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a communist.
He spent almost one third of his 39 years under J. Edgard Hoover and the FBI’s watch.
Scrutiny first began with the FBI’s Mobile, Alabama branch in December 1955, after the young minister helped to organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
After King's “I Have A Dream” speech, an FBI memo described him as “the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country.”
According to Historian and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, David Garrow, most of the allegations in the recently released analysis are neither new nor true.
Although the agency unearthed embarrassing information about King’s personal life, they failed to find evidence of communist ties.
Instead, years of wiretaps and spending money showed a man who was devoted to serving others, unafraid of self-examination, and unconcerned with fame or notoriety.
According to Newsweek, in the end, the FBI’s memos and recordings ironically succeed mostly in embarrassing itself, not the Civil Rights Icon.