Bernice King, the daughter of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Nobel Peace Prize winner and Civil Rights Movement leader, said old FBI documents released by the Trump administration, which contain rumor and innuendo about her father, have assassinated him for the second time.
The files were released as a part of the John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Act that governs how documents and paperwork related to the Nov. 22, 1963 slaying of President Kennedy are handled. The materials are managed by the National Archives.
The Act gives the sitting president the authority to release some materials at certain times.
“We are in the fight of our lives and even in the midst of disparaging reports about my father, I have not lost heart and I am hopeful,” she wrote. “I still believe that Daddy’s nonviolent philosophy and methodology is the way forward. #MLK50FORWARD”
On Oct. 22, President Trump released the latest round of materials that dealt with Kennedy’s relationship with Castro and talks about attempts by the CIA to kill the Cuban leader. There is also material that speculates about organized crime groups in the United States murdering Castro.
Trump said he released the materials in the interest of transparency.
The document’s 20-page analysis of King attempted to link him to communist influences and allege financial misdeeds within the Southern Christian Leadership Council, his civil rights organization.
The analysis also contains assertions and innuendos about King’s private life that include extramarital affairs and other sexual indiscretions.
The FBI analysis was dated March 12, 1968, three weeks before King’s assassination in Memphis, Tenn. and it is unclear if any of the information was verified.
The analysis reflects an FBI determined to vilify the slain civil rights leader. It concludes by questioning whether he should have won the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.
“These facts about the Nobel Peace Prize winner make his remarks seem incongruous when he replied after winning this cherished award, ‘History has thrust me into this position. It would be both immoral and a sign of ingratitude if I did not face my moral responsibility to do what I can in the civil rights struggle,'” the document said.
Another part of the analysis brands the Southern Christian Leadership Conference “a tax dodge” and says King associated with people who had communist ties.
The analysis was completed while J. Edgar Hoover was director of the FBI — Hoover was notorious for having his agents follow and spy on King, which was part of the FBI’s larger domestic counterintelligence program, COINTELPRO.
The program was widely panned years later and resulted in various reforms.
In 1964, an anonymous package that a Senate committee later confirmed was from the FBI, was sent to King’s house containing a letter urging King to kill himself.
The letter had the line: “There is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days.”
Clayborne Carson, director of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute and a history professor at Stanford University, doubts the veracity of the FBI’s King analysis.
“When we look closely at this, what we see is that there is a person who is trying his best to damage Martin Luther King’s reputation,” Carson said of Hoover to CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
The FBI analysis was part of 676 documents that President Donald Trump released Nov. 3 about Kennedy’s assassination — it is not known how the King analysis was mixed in with the Kennedy files and why it remained secret for nearly 50 years.
King biographer David Garrow, in his 1981 book, “The FBI and Martin Luther King Jr.,” as well as other authors have long speculated that information about King having Communist ties and his extra-marital affairs, could be released through the JFK files 50-year window.
Trump has said he will release every document tied to Kennedy’s 1963 assassination.
The FBI’s files on King are slated to be opened in 2027.