Thursday, January 19, 2017

"A colossal fraud and an evil, vicious one at that"

It was Martin Luther King Day on Monday, when the world pays tribute to the iconic civil rights leader. This year, even Donald Trump got in on the act, urging his Twitter followers: "Celebrate Martin Luther King Day and all of the wonderful things he stood for. Honor him for being the great man that he was!" This despite the fact that Trump had just covered himself in glory by attacking another civil rights leader, John Lewis, for having the temerity to question the legitimacy of his election. And that's not to mention the fact that Trump's father stood for the exact opposite: segregation and systemic racism.

King, his courage and his conviction may now be held in almost universally high esteem, but it's worth remembering that this certainly wasn't always the case, to put it mildly. Take, for example, the extraordinary letter sent anonymously to King in November 1964 by the FBI, with the endorsement of President Hoover, which denounced him in the strongest terms, threatened to expose him as a fraud and adulterer and hinted heavily that suicide would be the best course of action.

(Thanks to Simon for the letter link.)

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