FW: King Wants 'Hoover' Off FBI Offices

Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Thu Aug 29 18:56:08 MDT 2002


August 28, 2002

King Wants 'Hoover' Off FBI Offices

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Martin Luther King III urged Attorney General John
Ashcroft Wednesday to
support legislative efforts to remove former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's
name from the FBI's
headquarters building.

``While it is the legislative right of Congress to pass legislation dropping
the name, it is
the moral right of those serious about justice to have a position on this
issue,'' said King,
son of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., in a letter to
Ashcroft.

Hoover, who was director of the FBI and its predecessor from 1924 until his
death in 1972,
gained notoriety for probing gangsters and Communists, modernizing
investigative techniques and
securing more funding for his agency.

But Hoover also raised questions in later years for purposely failing to
restrict mafia
activities and using the FBI to carry out political vendettas against civil
rights activists
like King.

On the 39th anniversary of the famous ``I Have a Dream'' speech on the
National Mall, King's
son, the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, appealed
to Ashcroft to
rename FBI headquarters.

``We feel that it is unjust that a man who really did some very notorious
and negative things,
that his name is on that building,'' King III told reporters outside the
Justice Department,
across Pennsylvania Avenue from the FBI' towering building. ``It's an
insult. It's a
disgrace.''

``If I was in Germany today and walked down the street and saw a brand new
building with Adolph
Hitler's name on it, I would think something very unethical is going on,''
added Dick Gregory,
a member of the SCLC's board of directors. ``I think that's the way we
should feel about that
building across the street.''

GOP Rep. Dan Burton, chairman of the House Government Reform Committee,
introduced legislation
in July calling for the removal of Hoover's name.

``Symbolism matters in the United States, and it is wrong to honor a man who
frequently
manipulated the law to achieve his personal goals,'' Burton said then.

The bill, which is being considered by a House subcommittee, is co-signed by
Reps. Steven
LaTourette, R-Ohio, Christopher Shays, R-Conn., William Delahunt, D-Mass.,
John Lewis, D-Ga.,
and John Tierney, D-Mass.

The Justice Department did not immediately return a call seeking comment.




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