How the FBI Tried to Drive Martin Luther King to Suicide


    Howard Sochurek/The LIFE Picture Collection via GettyLast year, an explosive trove of alleged information about the private life of Martin Luther King, Jr. became available for the first time in written FBI reports and surveillance summaries.Quietly uploaded to the National Archives’ website and buried among tens of thousands of government documents, the reports revealed the crazed lengths to which J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI went to surveil, harass, and even attempt to drive King to suicide—all to expose what Hoover and his G-men claimed in a racist panic as the hypocrisy of a nation’s moral leader engaging in “degenerate” sexual acts in private. The married civil-rights icon and father of four had extramarital affairs during his travels across the country; that much is known, affirmed by some of his closest surviving confidants.The truth of the rest of it is hazier. But in seven years, when the rest of the FBI’s file on King is unsealed, there will likely be exhaustive scrutiny of the materials’ grimmest allegation, involving rape. It will be important that when the time comes, the complete, often maddening history of King’s fraught relationship with the FBI is not forgotten. Read more at The Daily Beast.


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