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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/15/18

How JFK Saved MLK's Life And So Won The Presidency

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(Image by Photo of Palast at King's church by Zach D Roberts)   Details   DMCA

It was a Republican, Martin Luther King Sr., who made John Kennedy president of the United States -- for JFK's saving Daddy King's son, Martin Jr., from lynching.

This harrowing and little known drama of terror and courage, confirmed for me by Martin Luther King III, changed American politics -- and America -- forever.

On October 19, 1960, Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested in Georgia for driving with an Alabama license and sentenced to six months hard labor. No one expected King to survive the sentence -- he'd be lynched at the outset.

His father, Martin King Sr., had one desperate chance to save his son. Daddy King had endorsed Richard Nixon, a family friend, for the presidency. Nixon could count on King, a Republican like many African-Americans, who chose the party of Lincoln over the racist Democratic party of Jim Crow segregation.

A desperate King called Vice-President Nixon -- who refused to answer. But MLK's wife, Coretta, had a single hope. She called a friend, pacifist activist Harris (later Senator) Wofford who called Bobby Kennedy.

RFK didn't hesitate, calling from a pay phone on Long Island to his brother, demanding John save MLK Jr.

It was just three weeks before the presidential election, a race too close to call. This was a crisis. Three Southern governors warned the Kennedys that any help for Dr. King and JFK would lose three Deep South states.

John Kennedy, who'd just won the Pulitzer Prize for Profiles in Courage, knew this was his test. He gave Bobby the go-ahead to save King.

Bobby called Atlanta and told the judge he'd post King's bond -- though the judge had never offered bond. But this Democratic judge knew that with his party, the Kennedys could employ and destroy.

Meanwhile, according to Martin King III, his father was pulled from his Atlanta jail at 2am and told he would be transferred to Reidsville Prison hours from the city. King was certain he would not live to see the dawn.

But the judge had let it be known that King was now under the protective gaze of the Kennedy's. And MLK, said his son, was "the first prisoner ever to be thrilled and thankful to enter gates of Reidsville Prison."

But the warning came true. Word of Kennedy's saving King cost JFK the electoral votes of Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia. But then there was the miracle. Daddy King had written a pamphlet beginning, in block letters:

"No Comment" Nixon
versus
A Candidate with a Heart,
Senator Kennedy
*
THE CASE OF
MARTIN LUTHER KING

The pamphlet, on blue paper, was carried to the churches of half a million African-Americans.


(Image by Pamphlet by Martin Luther King Sr.)   Details   DMCA

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Greg Palast's investigative reports appear in Rolling Stone, the Guardian and on BBC Television. His latest film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, on how Donald Trump stole the 2016 election, is available on Amazon. Palast is Patron of the Trinity (more...)
 
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