Earlier this morning, the UberFacts Twitter account posted the following tweet:
A letter was discovered in which the FBI urged Martin Luther King to commit suicide.
— UberFacts (@UberFacts) October 13, 2012
I learned about it a little while later because of a weird spike in my traffic — though the story is well documented and has appeared in a number of scholarly works it’s not particularly well known, and a post that I wrote about it earlier this year happens to show up near the top of Google’s searches for various phrases relating to it.
Anyway, like I say, it’s true. The FBI, under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover’s top deputy, sent Martin Luther King a blackmail package in November 1964 along with a letter urging him to kill himself to avoid the shame of the public disclosure of “your filthy, abnormal fraudulent self.”
The letter was timed to arrive shortly before King was scheduled to travel to Oslo to receive the Nobel Peace Prize.