|1963. The director of the New York office of the Southern
Christian Leadership Conference and later its director of voter registration in seven
southern states, Jack O'Dell was the target of an FBI operation. It tried to force his
removal from the SCLC staff while it leaked unsubstantiated charges against him to the
press to smear Dr. King and the SCLC as Communist influenced.
|The FBI was pressuring the Justice Department with memos about me every other week. Then the Justice Department put pressure on SCLC. When John Kennedy was getting ready to go to Europe in June, he took Martin out on the White House lawn for that walk through the Rose Garden, telling him I was an agent of a foreign government. This latest move was coming from a heavy source, the President of the United States. It was put on his agenda to deal with Martin on this issue. Now, I was born and grew up in the ghetto of Detroit. I lived in Louisiana and sat behind the screens on streetcars and buses, couldn't eat in a Walgreens drugstore restaurant, couldn't go to a public park. That's why I was in a movement to abolish segregation. Yet you read all those books and it's like the only reason I'm there is to "infiltrate" the thing and pick up slips from the desk, I guess, and pass them on as an agent of a foreign government. It's ridiculous. It's ludicrous. But McCarthyism in the early 1960's was very much alive.|