The King Holiday and Its Meaning
Remarks of Senator Jesse Helms
October 3, 1983,
Vol. 129, No. 130, pages S 13452 through S 13461.
Republican Senator Jesse Helms led the fight to stop
the King holiday.
Mr. President, in light of the comments by the Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Kennedy), it is important that there be such an examination of the political activities and associations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., principally from the beginning of his work in the civil rights movement in the mid 1950s until his death in 1968. Throughout this period, but especially toward the beginning and end of his career, King associated with identified members of the Communist Party of the United States (CPUSA), with persons who were former members of or close to the CPUSA, and with CPUSA front organizations. In some important respects King's civil rights activities and later his opposition to the Vietnam war were strongly influenced by and dependent on these associations.
There is no evidence that King himself was a member of the CPUSA or that he was a rigorous adherent of Marxist ideology or of the Communist Party line. Nevertheless, King was repeatedly warned about his associations with known Communists by friendly elements in the Kennedy Administration and the Department of Justice (DO J) (including strong and explicit warning from President Kennedy himself). King took perfunctory and deceptive measures to separate himself from the Communists against whom he was warned. He continued to have close and secret contacts with at least some of them after being informed and warned of their background, and he violated a commitment to sever his relationships with identified Communists.
Throughout his career King, unlike many other civil rights leaders of his time, associated with the most extreme political elements in the United States. He addressed their organizations, signed their petitions, and invited them into his own organizational activities. Extremist elements played a significant role in promoting and influencing King's opposition to the Vietnam war-an opposition that was not predicated on what King believed to be the best interests of the United States but on his sympathy for the North Vietnamese Communist regime and on an essentially Marxist and anti-American ideological view of U.S. foreign policy.
King's patterns of associations and activities described in this report show that, at the least, he had no strong objection to Communism, that he appears to have welcomed collaboration with Communists, and that he and his principal vehicle, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), were subject to influence and manipulation by Communists. The conclusion must be that Martin Luther King, Jr. was either an irresponsible individual, careless of his own reputation and that of the civil rights movement for integrity and loyalty, or that he knowingly cooperated and sympathized with subversive and totalitarian elements under the control of a hostile foreign power.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was born on January 15, 1929, in Atlanta, Georgia. He was the son of Alberta Williams and Martin Luther King, Sr., a Baptist minister. He was graduated from Morehouse College, Atlanta, in 1948, receiving the degree of B.A. He attended the Crozer Theological Seminary in Chester, Pennsylvania, receiving the degree of B.D. in 1951, and he received the degree of Ph.D. from Boston University in 1955. In 1953 he married Coretta Scott of Alabama, by whom he was the father of four children. On April 4, 1968 King was murdered by a rifle assault in Memphis, Tennessee. On March 10, 1969, James Earl Ray, an escaped convict, pied guilty to the murder of King and was sentenced to 99 years in prison, a term he is now serving.
Operation "Solo" and Stanley D. Levison
In the early 1950s the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) undertook a long-term and highly classified counter-intelligence operation against the CPUSA. The FBI persuaded a former member of the National Committee of the CPUSA and former editor of the Daily Worker, the Party newspaper, to become active again within the Party leadership and to report on Party activities to the FBI. This man's name was Morris Childs, and his brother, Jack Childs, also a Communist, agreed to act as an informant as well. The FBI operation was known as SOLO, and for nearly 30 years it provided reliable and highly sensitive information about the CPUSA, its activities within the United States, and its relations with the Soviet Union to the highest authorities in the U.S. government. At least three U.S. Presidents were aware of SOLO, and Morris Childs may have briefed President Nixon prior to his trip to Moscow in 1972. In 1980 SOLO was brought to an end. Jack Childs died on August 12, 1980, and the operation was publicly disclosed and thus terminated by historian David J Garrow in a book published the following year.
Among the most important facts learned from SOLO was that the CPUSA was dependent on a direct financial subsidy paid by the Soviet Union. About one million dollars a year in Soviet funds was paid to a member of the CPUSA, usually Jack Childs himself, in New York City. Although this subsidy was illegal, the FBI allowed it to continue for a number of reasons-prosecution would have exposed SOLO and necessarily brought it to an end, and the operation was of continuing value; and the dependence of the Party on Soviet funds meant that it did not seek to increase its membership and importance within the United States.
In 1953 Jack Childs reported to the FBI that an individual named Stanley David Levison (1912-1979), a New York lawyer and businessman, was deeply involved in acquiring and disposing of the funds of the Soviet subsidy to the CPUSA. Levison may have been involved as a financial benefactor to the Party as early as 1945 and may have established legitimate business enterprises in the United States and Latin America in order to launder Soviet funds to the Party. In this connection Levison was said to have worked with Isidore G. Needleman, the representative of the Soviet trading corporation AMTORG.
Childs also reported to the FBI that Levison assisted CPUSA leaders to acquire and manage the Party's secret funds and that he directed about $50,000 a year into the Party's treasury. After the death of Party treasurer William Weiner in 1954, Levison's financial role became increasingly important, and Levison, according to Childs, became "the interim chief administrator of the party's most secret funds."2
The FBI maintained close surveillance of Levison, but in mid to late 1955, Levison's financial role began to decline. The FBI decreased its surveillance, although Levison was believed to have occasional contacts with CPUSA leaders. The Bureau eventually terminated surveillance of Levison, probably sometime in 1957. Some indications that CPUSA leaders were disgruntled with Levison led the FBI to interview him on February 9 and March 4, 1960. It is not clear what Levison told the FBI at these interviews, but he definitely rejected the request of the FBI that he become an informant within the Communist Party.
In the summer of 1956 Bayard Rustin, himself a former member of the Young Communist League, the youth arm of the CPUSA, introduced Levison to Martin Luther King, Jr. in New York City. Levison and King soon became close friends, and Levison provided important financial, organizational, and public relations services for King and the SCLC. The FBI was not aware of their relationship until very late 1961 or early 1962, and it was the discovery of their relationship that led to the protracted and intensive FBI-DOJ surveillance of King for the remainder of his life. The FBI believed that Levison was still a Communist and that King's relationship with him represented an opportunity for the Communist Party to infiltrate and manipulate King and the civil rights movement.
Of King's dependence on Levison there can be no doubt. A DOJ Task Force investigating the FBI surveillance of King discussed this dependence in its report of 1977:
The advisor's [Levison's] relationship to King and the SCLC is amply evidenced in the files and the task force concludes that he was a most trusted advisor. The files are replete with instances of his counseling King and his organization on matters pertaining to organization, finances, political strategy and speech writing. Some examples follow:
The advisor organized, in King's name, a fund raising society .... This organization and the SCLC were in large measure financed by concerts arranged by this person .... He also lent counsel to King and the SCLC on the tax consequences of charitable gifts.
On political strategy, he suggested King make a public statement calling for the appointment of a black to the Supreme Court .... This person advised against accepting a movie offer from a movie director and against approaching Attorney General Kennedy on behalf of a labor leader ....In each instance his advice was accepted.
King's speech before the AFL-CIO National Convention was written by this advisor .... He also prepared King's May 1962 speech before the United Packing House Workers Convention .... In 1965 he prepared responses to press questions directed to Dr. King from a Los Angeles radio station regarding the Los Angeles racial riots and from the "New York Times" regarding the Vietnam War)
After King's death, Coretta Scott King described Levison's role: "Always working in the background, his contribution has been indispensable," and she wrote of an obituary of King written by Levison and Harry Belafonte, "two of his most devoted and trusted friends," as "the one which best describes the meaning of my husband's life and death.TM It may be noted that this obituary began with a description of America as "a nation tenaciously racist .... sick with violence .... [and] corrosive with alienation." According to Garrow, Levison also assisted King in the writing and publication of Stride Toward Freedom, the administration of contributions to SCLC, and the recruitment of employees of SCLC. King offered to pay Levison for all this help, but Levison consistently refused, writing that "the liberation struggle [i.e., the civil rights movement] is the most positive and rewarding area of work anyone could experience."
The Council of Conservative Citizens has published a booklet that reveals the ugly truth about Martin Luther King and the political intrigue that created a national holiday bearing his name.
THE KING HOLIDAY AND ITS MEANING provides a study of King's communist ties and the heroic efforts of Sen. Jesse Helms to bring the truth about King's sordid past to light.
Nationally syndicated columnist Samuel Francis wrote the foreword to this factual and sobering account of King's nefarious activities.
For a copy of THE KING HOLIDAY AND ITS MEANING follow the link below:
ORDER NOW to read the complete booklet