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JFK: No Evidence MLK Is Communist or Communist-Controlled

July 25, 1963 - Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy said today the Justice Department had no evidence that Dr. Martin Luther King and other leaders of the civil rights movement were “Communists or Communist-controlled.” Mr. Kennedy made the statement in a letter to Senator A.S. Mike Monroney, which the Oklahoma Democrat read to colleagues on the Senate Commerce Committee. Governors Ross Barnett of Mississippi and George Wallace of Alabama charged in testimony before the committee two weeks ago that the civil rights movement and recent demonstrations had been “Communist-inspired” and “Communist-controlled.” They also said that Dr. King, the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, and James Farmer, president of the Congress of Racial Equality, had Communist associations. Mr. Kennedy said that “it is natural and inevitable that Communists have made efforts to infiltrate the civil rights groups and to exploit the current racial situation.” The Attorney General noted that these efforts had been “remarkably unsuccessful.”

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