Based on newly-declassified files, director Pollard explores the relentless campaign of surveillance and harassment of Martin Luther King Jr. perpetrated by the US government, the FBI and particularly J. Edgar Hoover.
In a modern context, when King is celebrated across the political spectrum as a moral hero, it’s jolting to see the malicious and covert methods used by the US agents who were targeting him as a villain.
Hoover viewed the Black movement to fight racial discrimination as a communist plot. Rather than support equality, the FBI sought to undermine King through wiretapping and blackmail, in what former FBI director James Comey calls “the darkest part of the bureau’s history”.
With King, as with many Black activists since the beginning of the 20th century, the FBI’s surveillance wasn’t an isolated obsession. It was part of a long-running effort to keep Black Americans from acquiring institutional power. Featuring interviews with Andrew Young, James Comey, Clarence Jones, and more.
The bureau’s surveillance of Martin Luther King Jr. reflects a paranoia about Black activism that’s foundational to American politics.
– Hannah Girogos, The Atlantic