Tom Porter, Newsweek
The Trump administration released an FBI document containing allegations about the sexual misconduct of Martin Luther King as part of its declassification of information relating to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
The 1968 document alleges financial improprieties by King’s civil rights organization, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, attempts to tie King to communist organizations and details a series of claims about King’s multiple alleged affairs.
The declassified file is not the first time FBI information about King’s infidelity has been made public. The wiretaps that recorded information about King’s affairs—which the FBI tried to use against King—first emerged via congressional hearings in the 1970s.
The 20-page file profiles King when he was engaged in his historic campaign for civil rights, and is dated three weeks before his April 4, 1968 assassination.
A section of the document entitled “King’s Personal Conduct” contains a series of claims about King’s extramarital affairs, including a relationship with folk singer Joan Baez.
The document describes the alleged sex acts King engaged in as “unnatural” and “abnormal,” and details an orgy that took place during workshops King held in Miami, Florida, in February 1968 with funds from the Ford Foundation to train black ministers in leadership.
It goes on to label the African-American civil rights organization King led as a “tax dodge” and describes the alleged communist ties of King’s associates.
The document was authored while Hoover was director of the FBI. Then Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy had authorized phone tapping surveillance of King as part of the FBI’s controversial domestic intelligence program.