Today, the U.S. commemorates the achievements of civil rights pioneer, Martin Luther King. It is the 81st anniversary of Rev. Dr. King’s birthday.
Although we now recognize Rev. Dr. King as one of the world’s greatest leaders, this was not always so. Prior to his ‘I Have A Dream’ speech, King was investigated for years by the FBI for allegedly having ties to communists. King repeatedly denied these charges, and the FBI’s investigation turned up nothing.
Not to be dissuaded, the FBI unearthed details of Rev. Dr. King’s sexual life through wire-tapping that were embarrassing to King and his family and which the FBI later attempted to use against King. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover set up a task force labeling, “The most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country.” For Hoover, this investigation of Rev. Dr. King was an obsession.
You can link to an excellent article here that discusses Hoover’s investigation into Rev. Dr. King’s work. According to the article:
“some of the documents of the King investigation have been released … there are still aspects of the case that have been kept out of the public eye. Out of the more than 16,000 pages tied to the investigation, a little over 200 are available to the public. The wiretap transcripts themselves remain sealed.”
Massachusetts Senator John Kerry is now spear-heading an effort to unseal the entire bulk of the King investigative documents and other papers. You can follow this link, here, to an article discussing legislation that Senator Kerry plans to introduce next week.
Here is my take on this:
We now have an African-American President in the Oval Office. Equality among the races has not been fully achieved, but the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States makes it seem (at least to me) that equality is a little more possible than it was before.
Unfortunately, President Obama has been forced to pursue certain government actions because of the abysmal national conditions left to him by Pres. George W. Bush. Most notably, President Obama is supervising the financial institution bailout and attempts to get the economy back on track. The result = the Internet is rife with a cacophony of name-calling by Republican leaders and followers that Pres. Obama is a socialist, Marxist, communist, un-patriotic, un-American.
These accusations are similar to those leveled at King. They are no less dangerous and repressive now than they were back then. Issues of racism and class drive many of these “discussions,” issues which cannot be fully discussed without a complete and frank discussion about King’s life, work, and legacy.
Now is the time to release the FBI’s documents and other papers concerning the investigation of the Rev. Dr. King. I applaud Senator Kerry’s efforts. Furthermore, I urge the Congress to act swiftly to release all of the documents and papers pertaining to the FBI’s investigation of the Rev. Dr. King. I urge all of my readers to contact their representatives and ask them to do the same.