In 1975, the attorney general of the United States, Edward H. Levi, sent a serious question to the FBI: Should we reopen the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination investigation? The question was prompted by an almost decades worth of allegations and concerns that the FBI had not done enough to investigate the slaying of America’s most well-known and beloved civil rights leader.
With the death of J. Edgar Hoover in 1972, the FBI was now being attacked from all sides as more and more of the atrocities they committed in the previous decades came into the light. One such revelation was the sabotage, blackmail, and misinformation disseminated within the civil rights movement as part of the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO). One of their biggest targets, Martin Luther King Jr, allegedly received anonymous letters from the FBI urging him to kill himself after they threatened to leak information about his extramarital affairs to his followers.
In the documents, which you can read below, you can even read accounts from the FBI Deputy at the time, William C. Sullivan, saying that King was, “the target of an intensive campaign by the FBI to neutralize him as an effective civil rights leader.”
With the FBI’s true objectives now exposed, the Attorney general was wondering if the bureau had really done enough in the investigation of James Earl Ray’s assassination of Martin Luther King Jr on April 4, 1968. So, flip through the documents below and consider that the FBI had King under constant surveillance and then ask yourself: does it seem like they did enough? Or, as the documents say, was there a “possibility that the Bureau may have had some responsibility in Dr King’s death and may not have done an impartial and thorough investigation of the assassination.”
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