Thanks to commentor LAMH36. Here’s some other stories worth reading:
From one of the many excellent stories at the Washington Post:
The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech inspired the world. It also galvanized the FBI into undertaking one of its biggest surveillance operations in history.
Initially approved in October 1963 by then-Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, the FBI’s wiretap and clandestine microphone campaign against King lasted until his assassination in April 1968. It was initially justified to probe King’s suspected, unproven links to the Communist Party, morphing into a crusade to “neutralize” and discredit the civil rights leader…
William Sullivan, head of the FBI’s domestic intelligence division during the King surveillance program, told the committee in 1975, “No holds were barred. We have used [similar] techniques against Soviet agents. [The same methods were] brought home against any organization against which we were targeted. We did not differentiate. This is a rough, tough business.”…
David Corn, at Mother Jones, goes deeper into Hoover’s ugly obsession:
… For years, Hoover had been worried—or obsessed—by King, viewing him as a profound threat to national security. Hoover feared that the communist conspiracy he was committed to smashing (whether it was a real danger or not) was the hidden hand behind the civil rights movement and was using it to subvert American society. He was fixated on Stanley Levison, an adviser to King who years earlier had been involved with the Communist Party, and in 1962 the FBI director convinced Attorney General Robert Kennedy to authorize tapping the business phone and office of Levison, who often spoke to King. Then Hoover, as Tim Weiner puts it in his masterful history of the FBI, Enemies, began to “bombard” President John Kennedy, Vice President Lyndon Johnson, Bobby Kennedy, and leading members of Congress with “raw intelligence reports about King, Levison, the civil rights movement, and Communist subversion.” Hoover’s priority mission was to discredit King among the highest officials of the US government. Though King scaled back his contacts with Levison—after both RFK and JFK warned King about associating with communists—Hoover kept firing off memos, Weiner notes, “accusing King of a leading role in the Communist conspiracy against America.”…
TNR reprinted the late, underrated Murray Kempton’s report on the original march, including a vignette of a much younger John Lewis:
… If the march was important, it was because it represented an acceptance of the Negro revolt as part of the American myth, and so an acceptance of the revolutionaries into the American establishment. That acceptance, of course, carries the hope that the Negro revolt will stop where it is. Yet that acceptance is also the most powerful incentive and assurance that the revolt will continue…
The result of such support—the limits it placed on the spectacle—was illustrated by the experience of John Lewis, chairman of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. Lewis is only 25; his only credential for being there was combat experience; he has been arrested 22 times and beaten half as often. The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee is a tiny battalion, its members gray from jail and exhausted from tension. They have the gallant cynicism of troops of the line; they revere Martin Luther King (some of them) as a captain who has faced the dogs with them and they call him with affectionate irreverence, “De Lawd.” We could hardly have had this afternoon without them.
Lewis, in their spirit, had prepared a speech full of temereties about how useless the civil rights bill is and what frauds the Democrats and Republicans are. Three of the white speakers told Randolph that they could not appear at a platform where such sedition was pronounced, and John Lewis had to soften his words in deference to elders. Equal rights for the young to say their say may, perhaps, come later.
Yet Lewis’ speech, even as laundered, remained discomfiting enough to produce a significant tableau at its end. “My friends,” he said, “let us not forget that we are engaged in a significant social revolution. By and large American politics is dominated by politicians who build their careers on immoral compromising and ally themselves with open forums of political, economic and social exploitation.” When he had finished, every Negro on the speakers’ row pumped his hand and patted his back; and every white one looked out into the distance….
Never realized MLK & marchers overwhelmingly supported by Kennedy, DC establishment, vast majority of right thinking Americans. Thanks MSM!
— billmon (@billmon1) August 28, 2013
Joan Walsh at Salon has some inspirational links to the warriors who made the March, and also:
… Yet with all this amazing coverage from the left, the right has gotten almost everything about the march wrong, in a way that’s actually shocking, though I guess it shouldn’t be. Maybe we should be glad that they start from the premise that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a great American hero, albeit one they think his commemorators are misrepresenting. Maybe it’s progress that a man once reviled as a Communist and thoroughly disrespected by the mainstream media – as evidenced by his hostile interrogation on “Meet the Press” the Sunday before the march – is now lauded by righties from Bill O’Reilly to Laura Ingraham to David Brooks as a beloved hero whose dream has been betrayed – but by the left, not by them.
These faux-devotees of the great MLK, these history-challenged concern trolls, remember only King’s admittedly inspiring line about wanting his children judged “not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” They don’t remember that he was a radical, in fact, a socialist. That he was about to launch a multiracial Poor People’s Campaign that was unpopular even with some of his top lieutenants, who didn’t think the movement was ready to venture beyond black issues. They forget the New York Times editorialized against his joining the movement against the Vietnam War (a move that even some of his closest allies, including Bayard Rustin, second-guessed). Their tributes never mention that he died supporting a strike by mostly African-American sanitation workers in Memphis.
Rick Perlstein may have said it best on “Up With Steve” this weekend: “Frankly, Martin Luther King had to be forgotten before he could be remembered.” Or as King’s lawyer, Clarence B. Jones, told Michele Norris on NPR, after the march the FBI considered King “the most dangerous Negro in America.” The right is willfully ignoring what King and the march stood for, and getting away with it….
… Martin Luther King, Jr. was not conservative. And he is not your cuddly toy. He is not Marty, the Dream Bear. He was an openly socialistic, confrontational radical whose “I Have a Dream” speech asked for nothing less than a complete elimination of white privilege and the destruction of racial and economic hierarchies. As nutzoid right wingers call for the first black president’s impeachment (which would leave a white man with pretty much the same beliefs in the office) and for overturning the Affordable Care Act, how are we doing with that?…
Add your own links in the comments.