Dick Cavett: A lot of people…were astounded at how you got [alleged assassin of Martin Luther King, James Earl] Ray to change the plea [from “not guilty” to “guilty”].
Percy Foreman [Ray’s lawyer and LBJ crony]: I didn’t get him to change the plea. [Laughing] I simply told him that I thought he would be executed if he didn’t.
— The Dick Cavett Show, August 9, 1969.
A Piece of Work, and then Some!
Choose any notable event between presidents Calvin Coolidge and Richard Nixon (even beyond), such was his impact that any subsequent discussion is far from complete without significant reference to J Edgar Hoover, the long-time founding Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); chances are that its Director’s ‘fingerprints’ were all over said “event”. That said, such knowledge about one of the most iconic and consequential figures in American history has only come to pass incrementally in the ensuing years after his death in 1972.
Moreover, choose any significant individual public or political figure during that era, and the likelihood is that Hoover knew more about that person than they might’ve known about themselves. He most certainly knew much more about them than they themselves might’ve cared for anyone else to know, much less someone like Hoover.
As we will see, one such “individual” on Edgar’s radar was the iconic civil rights leader and anti-Vietnam war campaigner Dr Martin Luther King (MLK); one such…