‘MLK/FBI’ Review: An Infuriating Look at J. Edgar Hoover’s Attempt to Stop Martin Luther King [TIFF 2020]
Posted on Wednesday, September 16th, 2020 by Chris Evangelista
There’s a dark shadow cast over the life and career of J. Edgar Hoover, the infamous FBI Director who created the G-Man persona and ruled the Bureau with an iron fist for over four decades. Even if you want to overlook the unconfirmed rumors, the fact remains that for all his righteousness, Hoover did not do things by the book. He made the rules up as he went along, and bent them to suit his own needs. And when it comes to Martin Luther King, Jr., it’s common knowledge that Hoover despised the Civil Rights leader and his mission.
But in the years since King and Hoover’s deaths, a presumption has sprung-up that Hoover was acting on his own, independently, and that the much of the power structure of the U.S. government was oblivious to his actions. But as Sam Pollard‘s excellent documentary MLK/FBI reveals, that’s simply not the case. Hoover wasn’t a rogue actor. People in power knew what Hoover was doing – and they were fine with it. As one interview subject puts it, “The FBI was part of the mainstream political order.”