The Most Notorious Liar

Martin Luther King, Jr. was once called the “most notorious liar in the country” by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. Hoover’s negative opinion of King was not unique. A Gallup poll shows that over 60 percent of the public disapproved of King during the mid-1960s. Public disapproval of King did not end with opinions. In many cases, opinions became actions, which were often violent.

The Martin Luther King, Jr., Research and Education Institute at Stanford University documented many of the threats King faced, such as the bombing of his home with his wife and daughter inside. Or when someone fired a shotgun into his house and when he found unexploded dynamite sticks on his front porch. He received death threats and was under FBI surveillance.

These are only a few examples. All of it ended at 6:05 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, 1968. King was shot to death while standing on a balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. The public’s fondness for King has changed 50 years after his death. Today, it is important to reflect on King’s moving speeches about racial equality and justice. We should never forget how many Americans responded to his message during his lifetime.

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