According to the FBI documents that were recently released, King’s sex life was much more scandalous than the occasional extra-marital affair. According to the FBI, several of King’s associates were known to organize orgies with prostitutes. At one training event for African American preachers in Miami hosted by King’s organization, the FBI alleged that “Several [African-American] and white prostitutes were brought in from the Miami area. An all night-sex orgy was held with these prostitutes and some of the delegates in attendance.” And according to the documents, the activities went further than that.
“One room had a large table in it which was filled with whiskey. The two [African American] prostitutes were paid $50.00 to put on a sex show for the entertainment of the guests,” the documents state and, “a variety of sex acts deviating from the normal were observed.” This information apparently came from people who were at the event, and many were reportedly disgusted by the behavior. But that wasn’t the only such allegation in the documents. A similar event was described that was supposed to have happened in Washington, D.C. “Another, two-day drunken sex orgy,” according to the files.
According to the FBI, King’s sexual activities even led to the birth of a child. As the documents state, “It was learned in February 1968, from a very responsible Los Angeles individual in a position to know, that King has been having an illicit love affair with the wife of a prominent [African American] dentist in Los Angeles, California, since 1962. He believes King fathered a baby girl born to this woman inasmuch as her husband is allegedly sterile. The child resembles King to a great degree and King contributes to the support of this child. He calls this woman every Wednesday and frequently meets her in various cities throughout the country.”
Finally, the documents state that King also had a number of high-profile mistresses, including folk singer Joan Baez. Altogether, the documents don’t paint a flattering portrait of Dr. King. They describe the civil rights leader as a sex-crazed deviant and a massive hypocrite. It’s a very different version of the hero that Dr. King is usually seen as. “As can be seen from above,” the documents conclude, “it is a fact that King not only regularly indulges in adulterous acts but enjoys the abnormal by engaging in group sex orgies.”
If the information in the documents is accurate, it means that we have to reimagine Dr. King completely. Of course, those kinds of accusations usually require some substantial evidence. And for the most part, these documents seem to be based on hearsay from unnamed sources. Essentially, they aren’t the kind of allegations that would hold up in court. But at the same time, we do know that King probably had at least a few emotional or possibly sexual connections to women besides his wife. So, is there actually any truth to these accusations?