President Kennedy Told Martin Luther King Jr. To Fire His Communist Friends

NOTE: The following is protected by federal copyright law and is an excerpt from the book Marxianity written by Brannon Howse and is not to be published online. The footnotes that document the content in this article are found in the book Marxianity or the eBook.

Even during King’s lifetime, many Americans understood that he promoted socialism, calling it ‘social justice.’ The term, of course, was coined in the 1840s by Jesuit priest, Luigi Taparelli, and it has been picked up by the Roman Catholic Church—and now by many evangelical Protestants. What King called for was not new, and yet we still have some of the same ideologies being promoted by people who likewise wrap their socialistic agenda in civil rights or racial justice language.

When you consider the reality that communists will use any means to infiltrate our capitalistic society, it becomes clear that the civil rights movement of the 1960s is one of the means they used. In a 2010 book entitled, Landmark Speeches of the Vietnam War, Gregory Allen explains that:


[quote] The New York Times attacked King for comparing US military tactics to the Nazis. Life magazine came down even harder—labeling his speech “demagogic slander that sounded like a script from Radio Hanoi.” Many in the White House thought King had thrown in with the commies. Historian Lloyd C. Garden quotes Johnson aide Harry McPherson as saying that King was “now the crown prince of the Vietnix. [end quote]


Even at the time King was active, many leading Americans understood the message behind the message. Sadly, since the 1960s, his ideology and agenda have been so fully sanitized, that people now respect him so much that his contemporary approval rating sits at 90 percent—more than 50 percentage points higher than during his lifetime!

His profoundly improved approval rating is due, in part, to the shift in public sentiment about his views on socialism, not because of his contribution to civil rights. It’s critically important to understand that this shift is especially significant among young people. The January 15, 2018 issue of Teen Vogue, for instance, featured an article entitled “Martin Luther King, Jr. Was More Radical Than We Remember. Let’s Do His Memory Justice.” In other words, the legacy to be honored is his quest to implement democratic socialism. The article downplays King’s focus on erasing the divisions between blacks and whites, and instead, extols his antiwar activism and even refers to his civil rights efforts as a “manufactured perspective often told to young children and supported by mainstream, predominantly white commentators.” In fact, it minimizes his emphasis on race relations by alleging that, contrary to the popular narrative, “moving beyond racial differences altogether . . . was never actually King’s dream. His was much more radical than that.”

And what was this “radical dream” Teen Vogue so enthusiastically embraces? The article is clear:


[quote] King was a staunch antiwar activist and spoke firmly against US militarianism in the Vietnam War. And in April 1967, in a speech called, “Beyond Vietnam,” King called the war madness. This was a deeply radical and polarizing opinion and a moment when protest of the war had begun erupting across the country in New York, San Francisco and Washington, DC. In no uncertain terms, King articulated his opposition to the war in Vietnam saying, “I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So, I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such.” . . .

[T]hese opinions not only made him unpopular, as 64 percent of Americans approved of the war according to an October 1965 Gallup poll, they highlighted his increasing distance from mainstream American politics that called for the respectability, quiet assimilation and good behavior of black Americans. In fact, polling during the 1960s reflects how polarizing King’s radical work truly was for US citizens. In 1965 Gallup found that King had a 45 percent positive and 45 percent negative rating. And in 1966, the last year he was included in the poll, his positive rating dropped to 32 percent while his negative rating increased to 63 percent. However, by 2011 his rating was 94 percent positive. This vast swing in approval of King today isn’t rooted in his radical legacy. Rather, it is the product of generations of appropriation of his liberatory work. And a whitening of his effort to ensure more freedom for those least likely to attain it in the United States. [end quote] 


Today’s radicals want King’s worldview fully implemented to respect his legacy. The Teen Vogue article sees King’s greatest contribution as his socialistic leanings:


[quote] King’s belief in a more radical vision for America became manifest in his later social organizing work. In early 1968, King planned the poor people’s campaign, a march on Washington, DC. Meant to demand greater attention to the economic disparities between class groups, disparities that most frequently had a disproportionate effect on black people. The campaign had a radical vision. One that demanded access to housing, employment and healthcare for those historically denied those rights. While it had no specific racial target, it challenged Congress to pass sweeping anti-poverty legislation. (emphases mine) [end quote] 


As you can see, the progressives recognize what King was doing. I am not the only conservative who understands King’s socialistic worldview. Human Events—the publication once known as Ronald Reagan’s favorite magazine—exposed the King threat in a 2006 article, “JFK and RFK Were Right to Wire Tap MLK”:

[quote] The Cold War was in full swing in late 1963 when Bobby Kennedy authorized the first King wiretap. On JFK’s watch, Khrushchev had put up the Berlin Wall and had almost provoked a nuclear exchange by introducing atomic armed missiles into Cuba. Wars of national liberation were being fully stoked by the shoe pounder in the Kremlin. Yet, King, already a powerful civil rights figure, had surrounded himself with several radical advisors, including at least two long time members of the communist party.

Stanley Levison was one of them. He may have been, as King’s friendly biographer David Garrow sometimes suggests, King’s most trusted advisor. From 1956 until the civil rights leader’s death in 1968, Levison, an important communist party member, was also responsible for placing on the board of King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Hunter Pitts, also known as Hunter Pitts Jack O’Dell, who became a member of the National Committee of the US Communist Party in 1959. These were the indisputable facts that eventually impelled the Kennedy administration to wiretap King. [end quote]


Note that these communist connections are reported by the man the article writer describes as “King’s friendly biographer.” In other words, David Garrow would have motivation to hide these facts if he thought it would make King look bad, but he does not cover them up. In fact, the Human Events article goes further (this is well worth quoting extensively):


[quote] Garrow also notes on January 4, 1962, that Isadore Wafsi, a top communist party member with whom Levison was in touch, informed undercover FBI agent Jack Childs that “Levison had had a major hand in writing a King speech delivered to the AFL-CIO’s annual national convention a month before.” . . .

King and Levison “grew closer over the years,” Garrow informs us, with King eagerly seeking Levison’s advice on countless matters, both great and small. Even after King had been warned by Kennedy administration officials about Levison’s background, King refused to abandon his good friend and advisor.

Levison’s influence with King was clear and irrefutable, as was his commitment to communism. Morris and Jack Childs, who had been committed communists themselves in the 1930s and 1940s, knew all about Levison. The Childs brothers had become disenchanted with communism by 1948 but managed to penetrate the party’s highest echelons in the early 1950s—this time as FBI informers.

Their remarkable escapades, including Morris’ critical meetings with key Kremlin leaders, are told in the authoritative Operation Solo, written by the late John Barron and published by Regnery, a Human Events sister company. Barron, who spoke Russian, was a renowned expert on the KGB and Soviet counter-espionage activities.

Jack, in 1958, reported a conversation with James Jackson, the party secretary in charge of Negro and Southern Affairs. Jackson claimed that he and Eugene Dennis, then the top communist party leader, had conferred with the “most secret and guarded people who are in touch with, consulting with, and guiding Martin Luther King.” He did not mention any names. But said they were “party guys” and left the unmistakable impression that he was talking about Levison and O’Dell. Levison, according to Garrow, “recruited” O’Dell back in 1959 to become the “administrator of the SCLC’s two-person New York office.”. . .

When asked by the House committee on Un-American Activities in 1958 if he was a communist party member, O’Dell hid behind the Fifth Amendment. In December 1959, according to an FBI report, he was elected a member of the National Committee of the Communist.

An FBI surveillance team notes Barron also discovered another Levison connection when he was advising King, “KGB officer Victor Lesaviski, a sophisticated and engaging operative, well known to western security services.” Lesaviski, according to Barron, “specialized in influence operations—that is, in inducing influential foreigners to do wittingly or unwittingly what the Soviet Union wanted them to do.” Thus, when Martin Luther King, Jr., began plans for his famous 1963 march on Washington, JFK and his brother Bobby were very concerned, with good reason. They had already sent warnings to King to separate from both Levison and O’Dell through several top administration officials. Then, in June 1963, President Kennedy himself, after a meeting with black leaders at the White House, met alone with King in the Rose Garden. JFK had been fearful for some time that the Soviets may have been manipulating King through the American communist party and through Levison in particular. He warned King that he was in danger of losing his civil rights cause altogether because of his loyalty to both Levison and O’Dell.

“They’re communists,” he informed King. According to Garrow’s account. “You’ve got to get rid of them.” King never severed his relations with either man, even though he pledged that he would and lied about doing so to Kennedy officials on several occasions.

That’s why the Kennedy brothers felt it necessary to tap King’s telephone. They would have been derelict in their duties if they hadn’t.

Martin Luther King, Jr., is remembered by Americans for his achievements in furthering equal rights for blacks, but with good reason, many believe he was also manipulated by the far left, including communist party members. When he firmly hitched the civil rights movement to the antiwar movement during the Vietnam War, he appeared to take the side of the violent communists in Hanoi rather than of those who genuinely opposed the conflict in that country for religious reasons. He labeled this nation as “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today,” accused President Johnson of lying about Hanoi’s “peace” overtures and likened this country to Nazi Germany for trying to defend South Vietnam from a communist takeover. [end quote] 


King’s communist connections are virtually beyond doubt. Why else would he not follow the advice of high-ranking Kennedy administration officials to separate from known communists Levison and O’Dell? If his foremost concern were for the advancement of civil rights, he would have avoided communists who could only harm the movement. But that’s not what he did. These men were around him until his death!

The wiretapping triggered by King’s communist associations ended up revealing other troubling truths about King as well. It was revealed in 2017 that wiretappings picked up King organizing sex parties—orgies so graphic I would not describe them here. A concurrent report also indicated that first lady Jackie Kennedy was so revolted by what she learned of King’s behavior through the wiretappings that she could hardly look at King without disgust.

What do you think would have happened to the civil rights movement if it had become known by the American people that King was involved in immoral activities, as well as surrounded by communists? It would have done exactly what President Kennedy told him it would do—brought ruination to the civil rights movement. So, it is not at all unreasonable to surmise that the civil rights movement was simply a vehicle by which to further King’s ultimate agenda: the transformation of the American way of life into democratic socialism.

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