Jackie Kennedy on Martin Luther King: ‘That Man’s Terrible’, ‘Phony’

Jackie Kennedy on Martin Luther King: ‘That Man’s Terrible’, ‘Phony’
Former President John F. Kennedy and wife Jacqueline

Inflammatory statements made by Jacqueline Kennedy about Martin Luther King Jr. after her husband John F. Kennedy’s assassination have been captured in a book, Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy. Her unedited, candid thoughts for the first time were also spilled onto a series of audio tapings with famed Kennedy biographer Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. in 1964

The scintillating tapes will certainly help pull back the covers on the real relationship between the Kennedys and the Kings, which have been romanticized throughout the decades since the three major assassinations in the 1960s (JFK, MLK and Robert F. Kennedy). It also represents ill timing as King is set to have his historic monument on the National Mall dedicated by President Obama and a throng of other dignitaries and celebrities on Oct. 16, 2011.

Jackie Kennedy on Martin Luther King: ‘That Man’s Terrible’, ‘Phony’
Martin Luther King and former U.S. attorney general Robert F. Kennedy

Jackie Kennedy seemingly calls into question King’s validity as the main civil rights leader and minister as she referred to him as a “phony”, “tricky”, “a terrible sex pest” and saying “that man is terrible” on tape. One newspaper said that “these interviews will surely be most useful to the sort of historian who has an ear for unreliable narration.” Keep in mind that the woman known as Jackie O also tore into other people, including her husband JFK because of his serial philandering. And she made what could be considered politically-correct statements about Irish people, and can be heard making questionable jokes about lesbians, according to media reports.

Caroline Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy’s lone surviving offspring, attempted to put her late, beloved mother’s words into proper context. She detailed how former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover manipulated the Kennedys and Kings behind the scenes, “trying to incite division between the Kennedys [John and Bobby] and Dr. King.”

Caroline Kennedy included in her report that Hoover told her mother Jackie that King was heard in FBI wiretaps making crude comments about Jackie Kennedy kissing her husband’s coffin during his funeral after his assassination in November 1963.

As historians can attest, there is no question that Hoover had a personal vendetta against King and was completely obsessed with trying to destroy King and other major civil rights leaders. Through illegal wiretaps, room buggings and listening devices, Hoover was able to convince the Kennedys that King was allied with communists. Hoover and his FBI agents unleashed vicious and violent campaigns – much of them illegal, it was later determined — to destroy King, Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, H. Rap Brown, Stokely Carmichael, Marcus Garvey and countless other blacks in order decimate the ranks of their organizations and neutralize their effectiveness.

Jackie Kennedy on Martin Luther King: ‘That Man’s Terrible’, ‘Phony’
MLK and former president Jack Kennedy

“King’s crusade depended to some extent on the physical, moral, and financial support of liberal, well-meaning whites, and Hoover and other FBI figures knew that,” says Professor Lewis V. Baldwin, the co-author of Legacy Of Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Boundaries of Law, Politics, and Religion. “I am absolutely convinced that Jackie O’s anti-King sentiments resulted from anti-King propaganda on the part of FBI sources. These sources were determined to also destroy King’s connections with the most powerful people in this country,” he says.

“I doubt seriously that King made negative comments about John Kennedy’s funeral,” says Baldwin, who is a professor of Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University. “This would have been totally out of character for Dr. King.”

Jackie Kennedy’s harsh words, it must be noted, were also in response to listening to secretly recorded tapes that Hoover shared with her about King’s extramarital affairs, which is something of an open secret these days. -terry shropshire

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