Sunday 15 January 2023

Today is the Reverend Martin Luther King’s 94th birthday

Today would be Martin Luther King’s ninety-fourth birthday.

Martin Luther King's famous speech “I have a dream” was actually written by Stanley Levison and Clarence Jones, both of whom were said by the FBI to have been Communists. 

Both are alive and I do not want to be sued. 

Levison is said to have complained about King's marked lack of intelligence.

When the FBI told Robert Kennedy, the Attorney-General, that Levison was a “secret member” of the Communist Party Robert 
Kennedy’s aides and then President Kennedy himself warned King to cease contact with Levison. King promised but continued to communicate with him via Clarence Jones. Jones, like Levison, was being bugged by the FBI. 

Presented with evidence of this and that King had told Levison that he was a Marxist, the reluctant Attorney-General approved the FBI’s request to place King under direct surveillance too.

On the nights of January 6 and 7, 1964, at Washington’s Willard Hotel King and numerous other “civil rights activists” gathered for an orgy while ostensibly on “ministerial” business for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. 

The FBI had bugged the room. The tapes are under court-ordered seal until 2027 but there is a written summary of the recordings, first obtained by the historian David Garrow. 

They record that the King watched and laughed while a woman was raped.

On January 14, 1964, Hoover sent an agent to brief the White House. Johnson’s aide, Walter Jenkins, read the FBI memo on the Willard tapes “word for word” and suggested that the news should be leaked to the press — but not before the civil rights bill passed Congress.

Beverly Gage in her biography “G-Man: J. Edgar Hoover and the Making of the American Century” reports that Hoover predicted that the Willard tapes would “destroy” King and used a racial epithet that says “far more about Hoover’s own moral failings than about King’s".

We know, alas, that poor, very flawed King was in bed with two prostitutes the night before he was murdered, although this has not stopped his statue adorning the west front of Westminster Abbey.


  1. I venture to say King's reputation was rescued, and even enhanced, by his assassin.

  2. The United Stated Federal Government started to segregate such things as toilets in Federal buildings under President Woodrow Wilson - this policy ended in the 1940s (the Pentagon was the first public building in Virginia without segregated toilets) and discrimination in the Federal Government was finally ended by President Truman. Later, in 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation by State Governments (not just the Federal Government) was unconstitutional - although this was only the start of years of effort (including President Eisenhower sending in the 101st Airborne Division) to enforce Federal court decisions. The Rev. King was not a well known figure in 1954. As for the "I have a dream speech" - I rather doubt that such lines as judge people by "the content of their character not the colour of their skin" were written by Communists - as a similar speech was delivered, by a black pastor, at the Republican Convention in 1956.

  3. Rarely reported in any Robert Kennedy hagiography, but Larry Tye's "Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon" documents how Bobby Kennedy, worried about a riot forming, had King's mic secretly enabled with a cutoff switch during his I've Got A Dream Speech. FBI agents were manning a turntable with a record of Aretha Franklin ready to substitute her singing of He's Got The Whole World in His Hands if King got too inflammatory.