Today even the FBI loves Martin Luther King Jr. It sure didn’t in the ’60s

 Today even the FBI loves Martin Luther King Jr. It sure didn’t in the ’60s

It’s one of many details in the illuminating new documentary, MLK/FBI, that should be a wake-up call about what white America thought of King in his time—as well as what white America thinks of social uprisings taking place today.

Although the full extent of the FBI’s vast surveillance records won’t be released until February 2027 at the earliest, MLK/FBI draws on newly declassified documents to reveal how bureau architect J. Edgar Hoover tried to use its findings to erode support for King. (In an interview, former FBI head James Comey calls this period “the darkest part of the bureau’s history.”)

The film—which [came] out on Friday, January 15, on what would have been King’s 92nd birthday and just ahead of MLK Day—walks viewers through the uneasy relationship between King and the FBI. During the mid-to-late 1950s, when King first showed up on the agency’s radar, the FBI was apparently not very interested in him. Its agents began to pay more attention by 1962, however, when King became closer with lawyer, accountant, and “unsung hero of the civil rights movement” Stanley Levison, who had previously exhibited Communist sympathies—an uncrossable red line at the time. This relationship convinced the FBI to ramp up its surveillance efforts, and led to the only major dirt it ever dug up on King that is widely known today: his serial adultery. […]





“I believe in aristocracy, though—if that is the right word, and if a democrat may use it. Not an aristocracy of power, based upon rank and influence, but an aristocracy of the sensitive, the considerate and the plucky. Its members are to be found in all nations and classes, and all through the ages, and there is a secret understanding between them when they meet. They represent the true human tradition, the one permanent victory of our queer race over cruelty and chaos. Thousands of them perish in obscurity, a few are great names. They are sensitive for others as well as for themselves, they are considerate without being fussy, their pluck is not swankiness but the power to endure, and they can take a joke.”
           ~~E.M. Forster, Two Cheers for Democracy (1936-1951)


On this date at Daily Kos in 2009As of This Minute, The Bush Administration Has Effectively Ended:

It’s 5:00 PM in the Eastern time zone, which includes Washington DC.  5:00 PM is the standard end of the workday.  It’s Friday, the end of the week.  Monday is a federal holiday, so the mass of federal employees will not be working.  On Tuesday President-elect Barack Obama will become President Barack Obama, our nation’s 44th president.  

Some White House staff will be kept on for the next few days.  Certainly in the defense, foreign policy and domestic security areas there are Bush appointees who will–and should–remain on call or at their desks between now and Tuesday.  The could still be some late-night activities happening with some of the legal staff.  But in terms of devising, implementing and enforcing policies, as of this moment, the Bush administration is effectively over.  

It was exhausting, it was most of the time maddening, infuriating and often embarrassing and even shameful for our government to be led by George W. Bush and his administration.  But we have endured.  The country is damaged, but not destroyed.  President Obama and the Democratic people, the massive and professional civil service, and especially the American people have a great deal of work and struggle before us to restore our country’s honor, prestige, respect, security, prosperity and opportunity.  

We’re all up to that challenge.  But before we embark on that, let’s let out a sigh of relief, and if you’re inclined, now or later tonight, raise your glass and toast to the effective end of the administration and presidency of George W. Bush. 

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