Three Important Facts About Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy
Many historical recollections of King’s life omit the intense campaign the FBI waged against him
Today, America celebrates the immeasurable legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister whose tremendous reach and profound impact transcended beyond the pulpit of his Montgomery, Alabama, church to create a civil rights movement of resistance against racial segregation and anti-Blackness in the United States. Dr. King’s achievements and life story have been shared over the decades as a source of inspiration to unify and promote equity and equality among different racial groups. However, while doing so, Dr. King has been depicted as a non-violent pastor and civil rights leader who only promoted patience and compassion for the perpetrators of racial prejudice and White supremacist culture as a solution to eradicate racial inequality.
However, this representation does not portray his varied perspectives as they evolved about racism and protests. Many argue that this was done to shape the current views of future Black protests and social movements and ultimately to condemn, police, and pathologize reactions to racism that are not rooted in love and compassion for those who enact or support racism and White supremacy in America. Furthermore, some historians argue that Dr. King’s legacy and teachings have been White washed to make racism more palatable for Black Americans.
Many historical recollections of Dr. King’s life also omit the intense campaign that the FBI waged against him and the pain he and his family consequently endured. These distortions and glaring omissions taught in school curricula and passed down as old generational wives’ tales have reshaped history and linger like a bad cough. Here are three facts about Dr. King that have not been as widely discussed.
1. The FBI attempted to destroy Dr. King. Beginning the March on Washington in 1963 until his assassination in 1968, the FBI methodically engaged in a relentless and concentrated campaign to discredit Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his work. Several well-known documentaries such as MLK/FBI have examined J. Edgar Hoover’s “obsession” with “destroying” Dr. King. The FBI campaign against King began with wiretaps…