Social media is looking askance at the Federal Bureau of Investigation for honoring Martin Luther King Jr. in death after a mountain of evidence proves the agency tried mightily to destroy King while he was alive.
History buffs will recall that during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s J. Edgar Hoover, the former FBI director, unleashed something called “Counterintelligence Program” aka COINTELPRO, that was designed to neutralize King and “prevent the rise of a Black messiah” who could unify the Black masses.
Today, the FBI honors the life and work of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A quote from Dr. King is etched in stone at the FBI Academy's reflection garden in Quantico as a reminder to all students and FBI employees: "The time is always right to do what is right." #MLKDay pic.twitter.com/UKMLAAZw5w
— FBI (@FBI) January 20, 2020
Additionally, Hoover’s boss, attorney general Robert F. Kennedy of the Justice Department, signed off on Hoover spying on King with the knowledge and approval of President John F. Kennedy.
Therefore, many Twitter users are indignant that the FBI would proffer platitudes at the very man the bureau targeted for destruction. Eventually, according to books such as The FBI and Martin Luther King, author Clayborn Carson’s Malcolm X: FBI Files and Bobby and J. Edgar, COINTELPRO expanded to undermine multiple black activists and groups, including Malcolm X, the Black Panther Party and even the NAACP, Urban League, CORE, SNCC and other sympathizers.
One of the most poignant moments of the movement happened when King was notified he would be honored with the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. The FBI sent King this letter detailing his alleged marital indiscretions and suggested strongly that he should off himself before he would be exposed.
Read the letter the FBI sent MLK to try to convince him to kill himself https://t.co/YxFxHaExEZ
— Alexis Goldstein 🏳️🌈 (@alexisgoldstein) January 20, 2020
Because of the FBI’s past dealings with King and others, for which there has never been a public apology, Twitter users took off on the FBI.
'COINTELPRO… published lies about Dr. Martin Luther King and ran surveillance operations on groups like the Black Panthers'
— Charlie Cooke (@ccooke_rt) January 20, 2020
— n’golo kanté PALA-LALALA (@carIisIe) January 20, 2020
My favorite MLK Day tradition is the FBI wishing Martin Luther King Jr a happy birthday like they aint have that man killed
— Southern Associate™ (@SouthernTroubIe) January 20, 2020
It's wild to me that, year after year, nobody thinks to stop the FBI twitter account from tweeting empty platitudes on MLK Day.
— T.G.K. (@TangoGolfKilo) January 20, 2020