When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech before huge crowds on the National Mall in August 1963, the FBI took notice.
“We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security,” FBI Domestic Intelligence Chief William Sullivan wrote in a memo two days later.
…Surveillance failed to show that King was a communist, but it did result in many tapes of extramarital sexual liaisons by King.
So the next year, Sullivan sent the following unsigned letter to King’s home. An unredacted version of it was only recently unearthed by Yale historian Beverly Gage, and published in the New York Times in November 2014:
Though the letter was unsigned and the letter writer appeared to want King to think he was black — “you know you are a complete fraud and a great liability to all of us Negroes,” one line states — King and his advisers quickly concluded the letter had been sent by the FBI…
I was at that rally on the National Mall when Dr. King delivered his “I have a Dream” speech. It was hot and I was tired. And none of that mattered. This speech was a profound (and lasting) inspiration to all who heard it.