Ellen McGirt, Fortune
Yesterday was the anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., a day that should have been marked with sober reflection, calls for peace from government leaders, and well-meaning think pieces about Colin Kaepernick.
Instead, a different kind of history lesson unfolded on Twitter, after the FBI tweeted, “Today, on the anniversary of his assassination, the FBI honors the life, work, & commitment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to justice.” The tweet accompanied a photo of Dr. King with his famous quote “We shall overcome because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
People were not having it. Click through to the tweet itself to read all the extraordinary comments, which included links to multiple sources that painted a true and stark portrait of the terrible harassment King experienced at the hands of the FBI. Here, a sampling:
@FBI Your headquarters building is named after the man who tried to blackmail him into suicide.
— Tainted Bill (@taintedbill) April 4, 2017
Alternet tweeted a story with a good summation of the terrible harassment King suffered at the hands of the FBI:
What the FBI did not mention in its tweet is that King, who was arrested 30 times in his life, was the primary target of COINTELPRO — the FBI’s counterintelligence program that spied on threatened and even assassinated revolutionary leaders in the Black liberation socialism anti-imperialist movements. The FBI relentlessly harassed and threatened King. It listened to his phone calls. It spied on his romantic affairs. It taunted him and repeatedly called his house.
After he gave his famous I have a dream speech in 1963, the FBI dubbed King “the most dangerous and effective Negro leader in the country.” FBI department heads held a meeting to discuss “a complete analysis of the avenues of approach aimed at neutralizing King as an effective Negro leader.”