(Warning: This story contains some very shocking content and is for adults' eyes only.)
There is a story going all around the media about the late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. It started with an article in the Times of London that referenced biographer David Garrow, who describes newly-released FBI memos discussing alleged secret tapes made by bugging Dr. King’s hotel room. The FBI files allegedly include claims that King had affairs with up to 40 women, engaging in a sex orgy and watched as a pastor friend raped a female parishioner.
A number of publications rejected this story, but it eventually came out, mostly because of Garrow, who won a Pulitizer Prize for his previous biography of King and who, as a “Democratic socialist,” can’t be accused of being hostile to Dr. King. He says this "poses so fundamental a challenge to his historical stature as to require the most complete and extensive historical review possible."
As someone who has always been deeply inspired by the actions and words of the Rev. King, I am both very disturbed by these allegations and deeply skeptical. For one thing, even Garrow hasn’t heard these alleged tapes, which aren’t set for release until 2027. All he has to go on is FBI memos talking about King and the tapes. We know that at the time, J. Edgar Hoover and others in the FBI hated and feared Dr. King and were determined to get any dirt on him and use it to blackmail him into ending his civil rights crusade. A corrupt law enforcement agency that would spy on an American citizen in an attempt to extort him would hardly flinch at lying about him or framing him, or badmouthing him in internal communications they never expected anyone to see (wow, this story suddenly seems awfully relevant to today.)
I would urge everyone who hears this story to bear those facts in mind before making any judgements. All this is based on is half-century-old secondhand comments written by notoriously biased people with a big ax to grind. There is, as yet, zero evidence to back it up. I’m upset that I even have to write about it, but the lack of evidence didn’t stop major media outlets from turning it into a big story, so I have to comment on it.
Sadly, we live in an age where believing accusations without evidence or due process, even against people from different times who are no longer around to defend themselves, is considered “social justice.” In this article, a reader makes a thought-provoking argument: even if it does turn out to have some truth to it (a big if), could some good come of this if it is seen as a bridge too far that finally ends the left’s war on historical figures? Would leftists really demand that we demolish Dr. King's dream and fulfill the dreams of his enemies by renaming all the streets named after him or tearing down his memorial in Washington? Please read it to the end.
As the reader notes, maybe this will spell the turning point at which these mobs with torches who are burning history books and smashing statues finally grow up and realize that there are no perfect human beings -- that people with deep flaws can do great things, and that when we commemorate the great things they did, we aren’t glorifying their faults.