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Original Copy of FBI Letter to Martin Luther King Jr. Urging Him to Commit Suicide Revealed

First Posted: Nov 15, 2014 11:55 AM EST
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Social media and news reports shocked readers as a 1964 letter allegedly sent by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was revealed.

It's contents suggest the FBI was trying to persuade the famous civil rights leader to commit suicide, The New York Times reported.

In the letter, which has turned yellow over time, the FBI insulted King by calling him, for example, an "dissolute, abnormal moral imbecile."

It also called him a number of other names such as evil, a fraud and "a great liability to all us Negroes."

The letter directs King to take the only action left to him and gives him 34 days to do so before his secrets are revealed.

The FBI allegedly had him "on record" as being a womanizer and consistently calls him abnormal and a beast for engaging in orgies.

The New York Daily News reported that the letter was found by Yale University professor Beverly Gage from the National Archives in College Park, Maryland.

A redacted version had previously been released, but Gage found the original document, which was published in The New York Times.

Gage said it revealed the level at which FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover went to discredit King and how the government sought to overreach its powers before the success of the civil rights movement.

The letter, which was opened by his wife Coretta Scott King, suggests that he was under audio surveillance and the FBI had found evidence of adultery.

Gage said that current FBI Director James Comey keeps a copy of the agency's King wiretap request on his desk "as a reminder of the bureau's capacity to do wrong."

The revelation received a variety of responses on social media.

Another post by @HeerJeet read, "They really should have shut down the FBI after the revelations of Hoovers war against ML King."

Some tweets referencing the letter pre-date the revelation, on Nov. 11, including one from @OccupyWallStNYC on Jan. 20.

"Dr. King's #FBI file. Remember that he was assassinated by our govt. and even urged to commit suicide by them #MLKDay," the tweet said.

And @AOL tweeted, "FBI letter to MLK shows sinister side of government spying."

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