even Dr. King’s wife, or ‘placing a good-looking female plant in King’s office’ to develop discrediting information and to take action that would lead to his disgrace.”

The FBI taped what it said were Dr. King’s extramarital sexual encounters.

The book recalled, “Unknown to King … the FBI, at the height of the public controversy, took its most distressing step. It mailed the tapes to the SCLC office in Atlanta with a covering letter urging King to commit suicide or face public revelation of the information on the tapes on the eve of the [Nobel Peace Prize] award ceremonies in Sweden.”

Although COINTELPRO is supposedly a thing of the past, its dirty tricks continue to be practiced today.

In one of his racist rants, Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul wrote in the 1990s – or had someone else write under his name – that Dr. King was a “world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours.” In the same breath, he claimed that Dr. King “seduced underage girls and boys.”

It’s a vile and patently false allegation, but the intent was to smear Dr. King, not tell the truth.

A similar campaign was apparently underway to discredit Sharpton.

The news story disclosing that NYPD spied on Sharpton also stated, “Two undercover police officers who spied on black protest groups in the 1980s told this reporter in 1998 that the department was so intent on discrediting Sharpton that they were tasked by their superiors to spread rumors that he was homosexual.”   As one who has covered the Civil Rights Movement for four decades, I’ve heard a lot of rumors that never made it into print. At no time, however, have I ever heard a faint suggestion that Sharpton might be gay. But that’s how these vicious rumors are designed to work. It doesn’t matter whether something is demonstrably false – the idea is to raise enough doubt in some people’s mind and the mission would have been accomplished.

To paraphrase former President George W. Bush: Mission Not Accomplished.

George E. Curry, former editor-in-chief of Emerge magazine and the NNPA News Service, is a keynote speaker, moderator, and media coach. He can be reached through his website, http://www.georgecurry.com

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