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Dr. King, A J. Edgar Hoover Target By A. Peter Bailey

April 1, 2018


Dr. King Targeted by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI
By A. Peter Bailey



( - As we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the April 4, 1968 assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., it is important to once again take note of the intense hatred FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover, had for Dr. King and Brother Malcolm X.


Anthony Summers, in his book," Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover", wrote that Hoover believed “Martin Luther King, the preacher’s son from Atlanta, was a black man who did not know his place…”  Martin Luther King had been in the public eye for some five years.  Edgar had lumped him together with advocates of violence such as Malcolm X.  ‘We wouldn’t have any problem,’ he had once grunted over lunch with Johnson in his senatorial days ‘, if we could get those two guys fighting, if we could get them to kill one another off…’”


Richard Gid Powers, in his book wrote that one “a long range” goal for the Black Nationalist COINTELPRO included the following:


1.      Prevent the coalition of militant Black Nationalist groups…An effective coalition of Black Nationalist groups might be the first step toward a real “Mau Mau” in America, the beginning of a true black revolution.

2.      Prevent the rise of a “Messiah” who could unify and electrify the militant Black Nationalist movement.  Malcolm X might have been such a “Messiah;” he is the martyr of this movement today.  Martin Luther King, Stokely Carmichael and Elijah Muhammad aspire to this position.  Elijah Muhammad is less of a threat because of his age.  King could be a very real contender…should he abandon his supposed “obedience” to “white liberal doctrines.”  Carmichael has the necessary charisma to be a real threat in this way.


According to a reporter, Tony Copaccio, in the August 28, 2013 Washington Post, “Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech inspired the world.  It also galvanized the FBI into undertaking one of the biggest surveillance operations in its history.”  This means that Hoover and his boys didn’t focus on the dreaming part of Dr. King’s speech.  Rather they took notes when he said “…It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the movement and to underestimate the determination of the Negro…  Those who hope the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual.  There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted full citizenship rights.  The whirlwind of revolt will continue to shake the foundation of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.”


Dr. King also said in his March on Washington speech that the United States government had given our ancestors a promissory note “and we have come here today to cash that check.”


A 1976 report of the Select Committee to Study Government Operations in Respect to Intelligence Activities stated that  “The FBI’s program to destroy Dr. King as the leader of the Civil Rights Movement entailed efforts to discredit him with churches, universities and the press.”


Hoover, who had Negro collaborators in both Dr. King’s and Brother Malcolm’s organizations, must also have been outraged when finding out that Dr. King had quietly sent word to Brother Malcolm in 1964 that he would support his effort to accuse the U.S. government of being unable or unwilling to protect the lives and property of black people before the United Nations Commission on Human Rights. That would have been a major propaganda blow to the U.S. which was flagrantly and hypocritically describing itself as God’s gift to those seeking liberty, justice and equality.


Finally, while commemorating Dr. King, we black folks should ask ourselves if we as a group of people have proven worthy of the supreme sacrifices made by him and other warriors who were killed in the line of duty in the war against white supremacy/racism.


A.Peter Bailey may be contacted at

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