Unredacted COINTELPRO letter that FBI sent to Martin Luther King in attempt to convince him to commit suicide

(via Leaksource / NYTimes)

COINTELPRO Letter sent from FBI to MLK to get him to commit suicide.
FBI agents sent this letter to Martin Luther King in an attempt to convince him to commit suicide. This tactic of using anonymous letters was commonly used in COINTELPRO operations not only against MLK, but also against the Black Panther Party, anti-war activists, and many others.

When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. received this letter, nearly 50 years ago, he quietly informed friends that someone wanted him to kill himself — and he thought he knew who that someone was. Despite its half-baked prose, self-conscious amateurism and other attempts at misdirection, King was certain the letter had come from the F.B.I. Its infamous director, J. Edgar Hoover, made no secret of his desire to see King discredited. A little more than a decade later, the Senate’s Church Committee on intelligence overreach confirmed King’s suspicion (PDF/8MB).

Since then, the so-called “suicide letter” has occupied a unique place in the history of American intelligence — the most notorious and embarrassing example of Hoover’s F.B.I. run amok. For several decades, however, only significantly redacted copies of the letter were available for public scrutiny.

Redacted copy of FBI MLK anonymous letter suicide
Here is the letter that has been publicly available for years, heavily redacted. A journalist working for the NY Times recently uncovered the unredacted copy in a set of FBI director Hoover’s personal files at the National Archive.