'MLK/FBI' Trailer: New Documentary Examines How The FBI Tried To Stop Martin Luther King Jr.

Every child learns about the historic efforts of civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. to stop systemic racism in a society that continually treated Black people as inferior. But what they don't often learn is how the Federal Bureau of Investigation, led by J. Edgar Hoover, was ordered to provide surveillance of King in order to get enough evidence to destroy him and the movement that he was leading. The new documentary MLK/FBI uncovers rarely seen facets of the FBI's investigation into Martin Luther King Jr., and the first trailer has arrived online.

MLK/FBI Trailer

MLK/FBI has been garnering plenty of acclaim on the film festival circuit, having played the 2020 Telluride Film Festival, the Toronto International Film Festival, the New York Film Festival, the Chicago International Film Festival. In fact, you can watch it as part of the virtual DOC NYC right now before it officially opens in January. Our own Chris Evangelista caught it at TIFF, and in addition to be quoted in the trailer, he wrote in his review:

"To watch MLK/FBI now is nothing short of infuriating. Because as we watch the events unfold decades ago it becomes painfully apparent that nothing has really changed, and maybe nothing will. While the doc never goes as far as drawing connections between the government's approach to King and Black people and how the Trump administration approaches race relations, it's hard to miss. Hoover and his goons may be gone, but those in power still see Black people standing up for themselves as a great threat."

This year especially is the perfect time for a film like this to be released. Many out there still have a hard time seeing how the government has continuously tried to squash the rise of minority voices, especially those who inspire others to take a stand and demand equality. If the FBI could be used in such a way all those decades ago, imagine the things our government is still doing today to keep people down. Actually, you don't even need to imagine it. Just read about it on the news.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is remembered today as an American hero: a bridge-builder, a shrewd political tactician, and a moral leader. Yet throughout his history-altering political career, he was often treated by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies like an enemy of the state. In this virtuosic documentary, award-winning editor and director Sam Pollard (Eyez on the Prize, Sammy Davis, Jr.: I've Gotta Be Me) lays out a detailed account of the FBI surveillance that dogged King's activism throughout the '50s and '60s, fueled by the racist and red-baiting paranoia of J. Edgar Hoover. In crafting a rich archival tapestry, featuring some revelatory restored footage of King, Pollard urges us to remember that true American progress is always hard-won.

MLK/FBI will be released in theaters and on VOD starting on January 15, 2021.