By Frances Rice
Character assassination. Thatís the tactic used by Democrats in the 1960ís to discredit Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Republican who was fighting the Democrats and trying to stop them from denying civil rights to blacks.
The relentless disparagement of Dr. King by Democrats led to his being physically assaulted and ultimately to his tragic death. In March of 1968, while referring to Dr. King's leaving Memphis, Tennessee after riots broke out where a teenager was killed, Democrat Senator Robert Byrd, a former member of the Ku Klux Klan, called Dr. King a "trouble-maker" who starts trouble, but runs like a coward after trouble is ignited. A few weeks later, Dr. King returned to Memphis and was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
Prior to his death, Democrats bombed Dr. Kingís home several times. The scurrilous efforts by the Democrats to harm Dr. King included spreading rumors that he was a Communist and accusing him of being a womanizer and a plagiarist.
An egregious act against Dr. King occurred on October 10, 1963. With the approval of Democrat President John F. Kennedy, Democrat Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy Ė President Kennedyís brother Ė authorized the wiretapping of Dr. Kingís telephone by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Wiretaps were placed by the FBI on the telephones in Dr. Kingís home and office. The FBI also bugged Dr. Kingís hotel rooms when he traveled around the country.
The trigger for this unsavory wiretapping was apparently Dr. Kingsí criticism of the Kennedy Administration, according to the author David Garrow in his book, ďBearing the Cross.Ē The justification given by the Kennedy Administration publicly was that two of Dr. Kingís associates, including David Levinson, had ended their association with the Communist Party in order to work undercover and influence Dr. King. However, after years of continuous and extensive wiretapping, the FBI found no direct links of Dr. King to the Communist Party.