Martin Luther King Jr. FBI Dossier Among JFK Assassination Files

FBI’s negative analysis of the civil right icon was dated three weeks before he was killed by James Earl Ray

Martin Luther King Jr.
National Archives

The Trump administration released additional material from the John F. Kennedy assassination files Friday, including a 20-page document that tries to connect Martin Luther King Jr. to communist influences, CNN reports.

The same document also alleges questionable handling of the finances at King’s civil rights organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and makes insinuations about his personal life that would have tarnished his reputation and been publicly embarrassing.

Although it’s uncertain if the information in the document was verified by its author, the apparent mission of the FBI at the time was to discredit King, who, as a leader in the Civil Rights Movement of the ’50s and ’60s, called for nonviolent resistance to combat racial inequality. He received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, an honor which the FBI questioned.

J. Edgar Hoover was the FBI director at the time the document was written. It’s been known for years that he had investigators spy on King, who he thought had possible ties to communism.

Why this document was among those about the Kennedy’s assassination or why it was marked by the National Archives and Records Administration’s JFK Task Force in 1994 with an “x” for “total denial” of its release is not clear. Added note: the FBI’s negative analysis of King was dated March 12, 1968; he was assassinated three weeks later.