“The Bureau must take a discreet approach in developing information about Dr. King to use at an opportune time in a counter-intelligence move to discredit him. That discretion must not reach the point of timidity.”
The memo was written by Assistant FBI Director William Sullivan on Christmas Eve, 1963 and circulated to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and top FBI officials.
This was followed in quick order by a flood of FBI memos, notes, meetings, and strategy sessions. The agency had one aim, and one aim only, to destroy Martin Luther King, Jr. The FBI had declared war on King, and as promised, it never was timid.
Four and half years after the government’s assault on King kicked off he was murdered in Memphis, April 4, 1968. Now fifty years later, noted political analyst Earl Ofari Hutchinson, in his new book, 50 Years Later: Why the Murder of Dr. King Still Hurts (Middle Passage Press), March 2018, takes an in-depth look at the lingering doubts and disbelief about the official version of the murder of Dr. King and how that shaped events of the next fifty years.
Hutchinson presents14 pages of FBI memos, files, notes, minutes of meetings, and letters from the final report of the Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations in 1976 that have rarely been fully presented and cited in their entirety. It’s entitled, “The FBI Plans Its Campaign to Discredit Dr. King.” This includes the FBI’s 21 proposals to obliterate King as an African-American leader. The materials are the FBI’s own words detailing the full scope of its plan to destroy King. Many of the details in the campaign have never been presented in complete detail for the general public—the break ins, forgeries, SCLC plants, inspection of IRS tax filings, bank account seizures, poison pen letters, instigating police raids on King’s hotel and motel rooms, calls to universities, congresspersons to discredit him, and even the Nobel Prize Committee to reject King. Hutchinson details how the FBI stopped at nothing in its relentless, ruthless, no-holds barred campaign to destroy King even considering trying to turn his wife, Coretta Scott King, into an informer against him.
Hutchinson notes, “There was a clear method to the FBI’s diabolical obsession with King. It understood the monumental affect the King led movement had on civil rights, politics, heightened awareness of poverty, his crucial relationship with Democratic Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, and the influence he had on other change movements globally and in America, that of Hispanics, Women, and Gays. Hutchinson poses and tackles the poignant question King raised, “Where Do We Go from Here.”
50 Years Later: Why the Murder of Dr. King Still Hurts draws from King’s writings, letters, declassified government files, and documents and essays that focus on King’s murder and the half century of change after King’s murder. This includes an assessment of ” King Versus Trump” and “What if King Had Lived?”
50 Years Later: Why the Murder of Dr. King Still Hurts is not just another of the countless tributes to and reminiscences on the legacy of Dr. King,” says Hutchinson, “It takes a hard look at the murder, the tumult, and the changes both good and bad that his murder directly and indirectly caused in the nation, then and now.”
Hutchinson seeks to provide a political signpost where Dr. King would have taken America if he had lived and where the country still should go. “This is more than a book of remembrance,” notes Hutchinson, “it’s a book that seeks to tell why Dr. King’s murder still hurts a half century later.”
Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author and political analyst. He is the author of multiple books on race and politics in America. The most recent include; The Obama Legacy, The Trump Challenge to Black America, and From King to Obama: Witness to a Turbulent History. He is a regular commentator on RT News with Ed Schultz and other cable network shows. He is a weekly co-host of the Al Sharpton Show on Radio One. He is the host of the weekly Hutchinson Report on KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles and the Pacifica Network.