Explosive claims about Martin Luther King in JFK docs

Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.
Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. Photo credit: Getty

Documents have been released by the US Government alleging a string of affairs and extreme sexual behaviour by slain US civil rights leader Martin Luther King.

Dr King was assassinated in April of 1968.

The documents, created only a few weeks beforehand, were amongst files released on Saturday (NZ time) regarding the 1963 assassination of US President John F Kennedy.

Included is an allegation Dr King had an affair with folk singer Joan Baez, and claims he engaged in "abnormal" and "unnatural" sexual behaviour.

"Several Negro and white prostitutes were brought in from the Miami area" in February 1968, the FBI documents allege. "An all-night sex orgy was held with these prostitutes and some of the delegates in attendance.

"One room had a large table in it which was filled with whiskey. The two Negro prostitutes were paid $50.00 to put on a sex show for the entertainment of the guests. A variety of sex acts deviating from the normal were observed."

It is also alleged Dr King had strong links to the Communist Party and was dodging his tax responsibilities.

There is no evidence that any of the claims in the report were verified. The documents relating to Dr King don't even mention Mr Kennedy, and it's not clear why they were bundled with documents about the President's assassination.

History professor Clayborne Carson, the director of the Martin Luther King, Jr Research and Education Institute told CNN the documents were part of an FBI "smear campaign" against the civil rights icon.

"When we look closely at this, what we see is that there is a person who is trying his best to damage Martin Luther King's reputation," he said, talking about then-FBI director J Edgar Hoover.

In 1964, four years before the documents were created, Dr King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. That same year, the FBI sent him a letter urging him to commit suicide.