Salacious FBI information again attacks character of MLK

BARBARA ANN REYNOLDS | 7/3/2019, 10:42 a.m.

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(TriceEdneyWire.com)—In 1970, only two years after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., his widow Coretta Scott King received the horrific news that haters had shot into her husband’s crypt in Atlanta, using it for target practice. Though grieved by the news, she conceded it was an omen that even in his grave the assassination of Dr. King would continue by fabrications and vile assaults on her husband’s character.

To her, the words, “you can kill the dream, but not the dreamer,” were not just a catchy mantra. She used them to brace her for the backlash she feared would come.

The recent trove of salacious and ill-reported old rumors being bandied about by Pulitzer Prize winner David Garrow falls seamlessly into that anticipated outcome. Mrs. King who died in 2006, had often shared with me her distrust of Garrow because of his close ties to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, an agency that has historically schemed to nullify Black leaders and—according to former FBI agent Donald Wilson—agents cheered in the Atlanta bureau upon news of his death.

The controversial information was obtained from the FBI bugging of hotel visits as Dr. King traveled across the country. The newest scandalous claims, according to an FBI agent, place Dr. King in a hotel room when a minister friend of his, now deceased, raped a woman and King “looked on, laughed and offered advice” and that he also fathered a child with a mistress.

The information Garrow reportedly uncovered was recently reported in STANDPOINT, a conservative British magazine along with an article labeling King a “sexual predator” and “the Harvey Weinstein of the Civil Rights Movement.”

As the news reverberated in London, Keith Magee, a senior scholar at the University College London, expressed his outrage. “This is part of the right wing’s offensive to dismantle and destroy everything revered by people of color. As President Trump visited London, certain people couldn’t bear to see a Black man being more respected than Trump, so there was a move to destroy Dr. King’s image.”

Meanwhile several right wing news outlets are blowing up the fabricated scandal; in one instance calling for the dismantling of Dr. King’s statue on the mall in the nation’s capital.

Clayborne Carson is King’s biographer and oversees the Dr. King records headquartered at Stanford University. He says he has seen the same information Garrow has but reached a different conclusion. 

“None of this is new. Garrow is talking about a recently added summary of a transcript of a 1964 recording from the Willard Hotel that others, including Mrs. King, have said they did not hear Martin’s voice on in. The added summary was four layers removed from the actual recording. This supposedly new information comes from an anonymous source in a single paragraph in an FBI report. You have to ask how could anyone conclude King looked at a rape from an audio recording in a room where he was not present.”

In my Coretta King memoir, “My Life, My Love, My Legacy,” she talked about this material mailed to her home Nov. 2, 1964. She said that her sources later confirmed they were dispatched by the FBI. “I set up our reel-to-reel recorder and listened. I have read scores of reports talking about the scurrilous activities of my husband but once again, there was nothing at all incriminating on the tape. It was a social event with people laughing and telling dirty jokes. But I did not hear Martin’s voice on it, and there was nothing about sex or anything else resembling the lies J. Edgar and the FBI were spreading.”