Don’t Forget: The FBI Wanted Martin Luther King Jr. To Kill Himself
“There is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days.”
Today at 4:01 am PST, the FBI’s official Twitter account posted a tweet commemorating the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King JR.
The same FBI that sent a letter to Dr. King while he was alive trying to convince him to kill himself? That FBI?
It is always so astounding to me how people so quickly forget how hated MLK was during his life. This man was fully being monitored by the United States government and was operating under the threat of bodily harm for years.
“Personally, I believe in the light of King’s powerful, demagogic speech” [that] “he stands head and shoulders over all other Negro leaders put together when it comes to influencing great masses.”
“We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security.”
— William Sullivan, the head of the FBI’s domestic intelligence division in an Aug. 30, 1963, post-speech memo entitled “Communist Party, USA, Negro Question.”
It is very easy to infantilize someone’s legacy when they aren’t alive to defend it. Martin Luther King JR was not the embodiment of all-colors equality that so many people paint him as. During his life, he was seen as an immediate endangerment to the white establishment. The FBI treated him as such. He was murdered because of it. No half-hearted, laughably ahistorical attempts at revising history via Twitter will ever change that.
Rest in Power, Dr. King.
Join my mailing list to be notified whenever I post.
Solér Bean is a freelance writer and an always-exhausted college student. A Las Vegas native, she lives with her mom, dad, little brother, and Malcolm- the needy and greedy schnauzer. She’s been writing for five years about politics, various social issues, race, relationships, dating, and mental health. She is currently a top writer in the ‘Racism’ category on Medium! Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.