His name is known to millions, but few know of his trials and tribulations, how the nation’s federal policing agency (the FBI) hounded him and tormented him until his dying day.
He is loved today, and a majestic statue stands in the capitol, less than a mile from a building named for his nemesis J. Edgar Hoover, who loathed him and taped his hotel rooms, his phones, and his friends.
Hoover tried every day to destroy him.
I write, of course, of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In his last year, after his Riverside Speech in New York, he faced the betrayal of those he thought were his friends and allies, and the furious demonization in the media.
Why? Because, at Riverside, he spoke against U.S. carnage in Vietnam, U.S. greed and U.S. racism.
He criticized capitalism – and everything changed.
He was called “irrelevant”, “out of touch”, “unaware of reality”, and much, much more.
The very media that once portrayed him in heroic lights, turned the lights off, closed its pages and covered their microphones.
This isolation served to make him vulnerable to the forces that sought his destruction.
That’s who Martin Luther King, Jr. was in the twilight of his life.
Hounded, harassed and harried by his government.
Let us not forget.