Friday, January 06, 2006

Enemies Of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Legacy Persist In Govt.

PANW Editor's Note: The following editorial was written on the eve of the assumption of power by George W. Bush in January of 2001. It is being reprinted in honor of the 77th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Jan. 15.

Join the Detroit Martin Luther King Day annual demonstration on Jan. 16, 2006 at the Central United Methodist Church beginning at Noon. For more information log on to:


Bush administration and Congress continues to conceal the destruction of the civil rights leader by the American ruling elite

By Abayomi Azikiwe, Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Originally Published on January 15, 2001

Editorial Review, 15 Jan. (PANW)--Today represents the 72nd anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the founder of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the leader of the modern-day civil rights and human rights struggle in the United States. King, who was assassinated on April 4, 1968, while in Memphis, Tennessee to assist a massive strike by the city's sanitation workers, has been recognized with a federal holiday since 1986.

When people listen to the tributes paid to Dr. King today, they should not be confused by the many kind words and praise from the corporate media and the officials of the United States govt. In fact it was the US govt. that created the conditions for the murder of Dr. King and the conspiracy toconceal the true reasons behind his assassination and as a consequence distorted the true meaning of the leader's ideas and work. King, was a controversial figure during the 1950s and 1960s. He was arrested many times by the police and was kept under constant watch by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

It was the FBI under J. Edgar Hoover that grafted many plots designed to not only discredit King but to bringabout his political destruction and physical death.In 1975 the United States Senate, through its Select Committee to study Governmental Operations as it relates to Intelligence Activities, which later became known as the Church Committee, investigated the excesses of the FBI against the civil rights, black power and anti-war movements of the 1960s and 1970s.

This series of investigations grew out of the exposures emanating from the watergate scandal and the liberation of FBI documents from Reading, PA during the early 1970s. In the conclusion of the Church Committe report it stated the following:"The Committee finds that covert action programs have been used to disrupt the lawful political activities of individual Americans and groups and to discredit them, using dangerous and degrading tactics which are abhorrent in a free and decent society....The sustained use of such tactics by theFBI in an attempt to destroy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., violated the law and fundamental human decency."

On November 18, 1975, Frederick A. O. Schwarz, Jr., chief counsel, and Curtis R. Smothers, minority counsel of the Church Committee, spoke to the investigative panel on their finding related to what became commonly known as the Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) that was directed againstthe progressive movements of the 1950s thru the early 1970s. In questioning them, the then Senator Walter Mondale, who later became Vice-President under Jimmy Carter during the late 1970s, stated that "the tactics they [FBI] used against him [King] apparently had no end."

In regard to some of the tactics used against the civil rights leader included "wiretapping. They included microphonic surveillance of hotel rooms. They included informants. They included sponsoring of letters signed by phony names to relatives and friends and organizers. They involved even plans to replace him with someone else whom the FBI was to select as a nationalcivil rights leader."Some of the testimony during these hearings in 1975 included the following exchange:"

Senator Mondale: It included an indirect attempt to persuade the Pope not to see him [King].

Mr. Schwarz: And many other people. Senator Mondale: It directed him [an FBI employee] to persuade one of our major universities not to grant him [King] a doctorate degree.

Mr. Schwarz: That is correct. I think there were two universities. Senator Mondale: It included an attempt to send him a letter prior to the time he received the Nobel Peace Prize, which Dr. Martin Luther King and close associates interpreted to mean a suggestion that King should attempt suicide.

Mr. Schwarz: That's right. Included in that were materials which the Bureau had gathered illegally or improperly through tapes and bugs and so forth."These chilling comments that were made during the 1970s clearly reveal the extent of the conspiracy against Dr. King and the civil rights movement in general in the United States. With the ending of the Clinton administration, it is appropriate to take stock of developments affecting African-Americans over the last eight years.

The sharp rise in the prison population; the epidemic of police murder and brutality; the escalation of hate crimes; and the continuing incarceration of political prisoners who came out of the civil rights and progressive movements of the 1960s and 1970s such as Mumia Abu-Jamal, Sundiatta Acoli, Leonard Peltier, Eddie Marshall Conway, and many others; illustrates clearly that the vision of a genuine democratic society is far from being realized. Fortunately, on the eve of the administration of George W. Bush, a new coalition of progressive forces are coming together to protest the massive assaults on democracy and human rights that are so pervasive in the present period.

Organizations from the civil rights, youth, women's, anti-imperialist and the new abolitionists movemens are gathering in Washington, D.C. to make their voices heard in opposition to the right-wing political coup that resulted from the mass disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of African-Americans and other voters in Florida and throughoutthe country last Nov. 7. Demonstators will voice their discontent over the growing prison population, now numbering over 2 million people and the existence of over 3,500 people on death row. They will seek to expose the draconian and right-wing character of the Bush cabinet appointments including people such as John Ashcroft, an avowed racist and opponent of the rights of women.

These actions will culminate on Jan. 20 with mass demonstrations in the nation's capital. The speeches, slogans, banners and other forms of expression that will be put forward this week are far more representative of the true legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement of the post world war II period than the dry and dishonest platitudes being put forward by the corporate media and professional politicians.

Dubya's trip to Houston on Monday that will ostensibly represent his tribute to Dr. King is an act of hypocrisy and villification. Dr. King played a leading role in the struggle to win the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, that guaranteed universal suffrage in the United States.

The stealing of the elections in Florida and the subsequent actions by the US Supreme Court was a gross attack on the legacy of Dr. King and everything he stood for during his lifetime. It will be up to the progressive human forces of the 21st Century to carry on the true legacy of Dr. King and all other fighters for human rights and genuine democracy. Those who are complicit in the destruction of Dr. King's legacy and dream must and will be exposed for their treachery by the new face of human rights and democracy that is emerging from the bottom of society to fight against those social elements who are attempting to reimpose slavery and fascism in the modern era.

Pan-African News Wire articles may be broadly forwarded for non-profit educational and research purposes.

No comments: