WASHINGTON, Nov. 13 (UPI) -- A researcher has discovered the uncensored version of an FBI letter that Martin Luther King Jr. interpreted as an invitation to suicide.
The letter, apparently written by William Sullivan, a deputy to longtime FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, has long been fodder for historians. But Beverly Gage, a Yale University history professor currently working on a Hoover biography, said it was only available in heavily redacted versions until she found the original in the Hoover archives.
In an article in The New York Times, Gage quoted charges of "sexual orgies" and "immoral conduct." It describes King's sex partners as "filthy dirty evil companions" and "evil playmates" and says they were involved in "dirt, filth, evil and moronic talk."
The original is typewritten single-spaced on one sheet of paper. It was sent to King from the FBI office in Miami, purporting to come from a disillusioned former admirer.
"There is only one thing left for you to do," the letter ends.
King told associates at the time that someone was trying to get him to take his own life.
Hoover had been trying to get friendly reporters to write about King's sex life. In an era when the press covered up for leaders like President John F. Kennedy, he was unsuccessful.
The letter was written in 1964 when King's standing was high. He received the Nobel Peace Prize that year.
After the 1963 Civil Rights March and King's "I have a dream" speech, Hoover launched a massive effort to prove King was a Communist. Sullivan, in a memo written two days later, called him "the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation."
The FBI found no evidence of that but discovered that King had an active extramarital sex life.