June 24, 2019
The civil rights activist so close to Martin Luther King Jr. she was thought of as his ‘other wife’Breaking News
tags: MLK, David Garrow
Jason Miller is a professor of english at North Carolina State University.
In a recent article published in Standpoint Magazine, Pulitzer Prize-winning Martin Luther King Jr. biographer David Garrow details new information about King he discovered in FBI documents. The most damaging is that King may have witnessed – and encouraged – a sexual assault at a Washington, D.C. hotel in January 1964.
But in the ensuing controversy, one aspect of Garrow’s explosive, 7,800-word article has gone largely overlooked.
Garrow publishes content from FBI files noting that a woman named Dorothy Cotton was King’s “constant paramour.” He also details FBI wiretaps from 1964 noting that King’s wife, Coretta, “berated” him “for not spending enough time alone with her.” At the time of the phone call, according to the FBI files, King was with Dorothy at a hideaway apartment in Atlanta. Garrow, at one point in his piece, calls Cotton “the most important woman in King’s life.”
Who was Dorothy Cotton?
She had a significant role in the civil rights movement: She was the only woman to eventually take the title of director within King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She often traveled with King. And she was with him in Memphis during his last days alive.
She died in June 2018. But in July 2017, I spent two days interviewing Cotton. As part of my research on the relationship between King and poet Langston Hughes, I was searching for the last letter Hughes sent from his deathbed, which he wrote to King. I hoped Cotton might know of its whereabouts.
Cotton didn’t know anything about the letter. However, over the course of the interview, she spoke, unprompted, about her close relationship with King. For over 50 years, she had suppressed her excruciating memories of their final hours in Memphis, leading up to his assassination.
comments powered by Disqus
- Do American Indians Celebrate the 4th of July?
- Trump Vows To Veto Defense Bill If It Removes Confederate Names From Military Bases
- Fourth of July: Beer’s Patriotic Connection to the Founding Fathers
- Calls for ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ to be Replaced With a New US National Anthem
- As Young People Drive Infection Spikes, College Faculty Members Fight For The Right To Teach Remotely
- The Day the White Working Class Turned Republican (Review)
- David Starkey Criticised over Slavery Comments
- ‘A Conflicted Cultural Force’: What It’s Like to Be Black in Publishing
- Did Rutgers Find The Perfect President For 2020? Meet Jonathan Holloway, Black Historian.
- In Search of King David’s Lost Empire