Assassination of Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King, Jr. Part 4

About the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., history and account of the FBI's role in the events.

ASSASSINATIONS

The Victim: MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.

Nonetheless, a retired FBI agent from the Atlanta office (who was working there at the time of the killing) had told the press that there were deep anti-King feelings within the FBI and that one agent literally jumped for joy when he learned of King's assassination. Furthermore, he alleges that his superiors washed out leads suggesting conspiracy.

Memphis police detective Ed Reddit states that he was pulled off the King case immediately prior to the assassination after suggesting a plan to seal off a four-block area in Memphis in the event a shot was fired. He was told to remove himself from the case and, when he refused, he was placed under "virtual house arrest" and was not allowed to continue in his duties that day.

Revelations have been made recently regarding the FBI's illegal harassment of Martin Luther King. The FBI admitted that not only had it wiretapped King's home, but it had sent Mrs. Coretta King letters implying that her husband was seeing numerous other women. It even sent King a letter which intimated that he should commit suicide prior to the scheduled awarding of the Noble Peace Prize in 1964. The letter read in part: "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. It has definite practical significance. You are done. There is but one way out...."

J. Edgar Hoover's feelings about Dr. King were well known and loudly expressed. He had called King "the most notorious liar in the country" and had berated his selection as the Nobel Peace Prize recipient. He was obsessed with ferreting out the details of King's sex life and had himself authorized many of the illegal harassments that plagued King before his death. Hoover was also responsible for a news story which had attacked King for his initial choice of a white-owned hotel in Memphis, and which had caused him to change his reservations to the Lorraine Motel, where the assassination took place. Then-Senator Walter Mondale described the FBI activities in the King matter as "a road map to the destruction of American democracy."

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