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Standing Up to J. Edgar Hoover

Coretta Scott King sticks up for her husband, a late civil-rights icon

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Coretta Scott King

Sir: The children and I have always understood the significance of my husband’s work and would have preferred personally to ignore Mr. Hoover’s ungentlemanly attacks on my husband, but my husband is dead and cannot reply for himself. Moreover, his memory is too precious to us and to tens of millions of Americans, black and white, to permit unfounded slurs to remain unanswered. J. Edgar Hoover, in alleging that he called my husband a liar during their meeting in 1964, has exposed himself. There were witnesses present, three distinguished clergymen, who explicitly denied that Mr. Hoover made such a statement or any other attack on my husband’s veracity to his face.

It is unfortunate for our country that a person of such moral and mental capacity holds a position of such importance. It is equally unfortunate for race relations in these troubled times that a person revealed in this interview to be so arrogantly prejudiced against Puerto Ricans, Mexicans and blacks is a high Government official.

Mrs. Martin Luther King Jr. , ATLANTA