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Andrew Young Interviewee: New Orleans, Louisiana, 1980 July 19 [Box 138, Item 15, Side 1]
Dent, Thomas C.
Young discusses Martin Luther King, Jr. J. Edgar Hoover, King's Nobel Peace Prize, FBI accusations against him, phone tapping and hotel bugging, and his relationship with Malcolm X.
00:00 – Dent’s interview with Young continues. He talks about leaving Thomasville when he was offered a job in New York. Young talks about staying at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Glynn [sic] who lived in a cabin south of Thomasville. [A voice chimes in in the background. Jean Young?] He fasted while he was there. 01:30 – Young talks about his fears in making decisions. He liked to feel like his work was made up of things that nobody could do but him. Dent talks about a long letter Young wrote to him at the time. 03:15 – Jean [?] says he also felt like he was “deserting [his] folk.” Dent recalls advising him to take the job because he was good at working with youth. 05:30 – After St. Augustine, around August 1964, Martin Luther King, Jr. had checked into St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta for a check-up. His physician was Dr. Yancey. King had been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. 06:58 – While King was in the hospital, his wife Coretta got a call letting her know that he had won. She called King at the hospital, where he was sleeping. He called her back to check if he was dreaming. Atlanta Archbishop [John Paul] Hallinan visited King while Young was at the hospital, along with Bernard Lee, Dorothy Cotton, Edwina Smith, and Dora McDonald. Hallinan and King prayed together. He blessed King and asked to receive his blessing. Young never thought he would see a Roman Catholic archbishop on his knees asking for the blessing of a black Baptist minister named Martin Luther. 09:55 – The trouble with J. Edgar Hoover started when King won the Nobel Peace Prize. They knew the FBI was monitoring them, but were unconcerned. They began getting calls from newspaper men who said that Hoover had been calling them in, saying the FBI had information that King was a communist, was stealing money, and was a sexual pervert. 11:50 – Young and Walter Fauntroy went to the New York Times Washington Bureau. They asked for information on FBI agents who were doing this, but they said they could not reveal their sources. They did say they had not seen the evidence themselves. 13:58 – King was being harassed by the FBI. Chief of Police Jenkins in Atlanta went to see “Daddy” King and warned him Hoover was trying to get him to cooperate in setting up Martin. Young’s secretary Edwina Smith was in the hospital. King stayed at her home to write for a couple days. Bernard Lee picked up the speech and brought it to the office and King went to sleep. He was awakened by sirens and banging on the door. Police and others said they were told there was a fire there. King let them in to check, but everyone realized they had been tipped off that King was there with Smith (which he was not). 17:00 – They knew their office phones were tapped. Someone called Fauntroy and told him they had seen a transcript of a conference call. They described how the transcript was set up. 19:00 – After King won the Nobel Prize and they were working on his speech. They were at the Big Game Fishermen’s Lodge in Bimini. Hoover said that King was a notorious liar and it was a desecration to give him the Nobel Peace Prize. They found out later that Hoover had tried to get himself nominated for the prize. They received a phone call that the press was desperate for a reaction from King to Hoover’s comments and the networks were flying into Bimini in helicopters. They put together a statement attributing Hoover’s reaction to King’s criticism about police not finding the killers of the boys in Mississippi. The FBI was tied in with the police throughout Mississippi. 22:30 – They wanted to confront Hoover. Someone said Archibald Carey was the only black person with any ties to Hoover. They called Carey, who arranged an appointment with Hoover for King, Ralph [Abernathy], Fauntroy, and Young. Young calls it “the most distorted meeting in history.” Cartha DeLoach [Deputy Director of the FBI] and one or two others from the Bureau were also there. They did not get a chance to say anything. Hoover took the meeting over and delivered a fifty minute monologue on the FBI. 24:45 – Hoover talked about the difficulty they had finding black agents and working in the South. They never spoke about Hoover’s charges that King was a liar. Abernathy thanked him and said that there were other things they needed to talk about still and perhaps he and Young should come back without King. They agreed that Young would stay in touch with DeLoach. 26:50 – Young describes Hoover’s office. They sat on couches and chairs around a coffee table. 28:00 – The press were waiting when they left the meeting. King told them exactly what happened. It later leaked that Hoover had threatened King and shown him incriminating evidence, which was untrue. 29:30 – Young, Fauntroy, and Abernathy had a follow-up meeting with DeLoach. Young asked specifically about the charges. They were assured no FBI agent would make these accusations. Young asked for any evidence of communist infiltration of SCLC because they would like to know. He said they could not give them any information from the Bureau files, but that other agencies did keep that information. He told them about the American Legion file and the House Un-American Activities Committee. Young pointed out HUAC’s racism. [Recording ends 31:51, continues on Side 2.]
Young, Andrew, 1932-
New York, NY
Tulane University Digital Library
Amistad Research Center
Audiocassette, mono. 16-bit
Box 138, Item 15, Side 1, Tom Dent collection, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Physical rights are retained by the Amistad Research Center. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.