[Marxism] Fwd: Book explores dark side of American law enforcement @insidehighered

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Nov 19 06:56:48 MST 2014

Last week The New York Times published a reproduction of a poison-pen 
letter that Martin Luther King Jr. received 50 years ago this month, a 
few weeks before he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize. A couple of passages 
in the screed suggest it was accompanied by audiotape of MLK in a hotel 
room, indulging in a round of extramarital recreation. King and his 
circle assumed that J. Edgar Hoover was behind the whole thing – a 
reasonable guess, since bugging a hotel room counted as a sophisticated 
surveillance operation in 1964.

Portions of the letter have been quoted by King’s biographers for years, 
and Hoover’s animus against King and the rest of the civil rights 
movement was obvious enough. But in her essay for the Times, Beverly 
Gage -- the history professor from Yale who found the original draft in 
the National Archives – underscores something that only shows through 
with the whole document in front of you. It might be called an element 
of psychosexual frenzy.

The note -- prepared by one of Hoover’s agents, but reflecting his own 
preoccupations regarding King -- purported to be from a disillusioned 
African-American supporter. MLK’s “alleged lovers get the worst of it,” 
writes Gage. “They are described as ‘filthy dirty evil companions’ and 
‘evil playmates,’ all engaged in ‘dirt, filth, evil and moronic talk.’ 
The effect is at once grotesque and hypnotic, an obsessive’s account of 
carnal rage and personal betrayal…. Near the end, it circles back to its 
initial target, denouncing him as an ‘evil, abnormal beast.’ ”


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