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MLK/FBI Summary

Sam Pollard

MLK/FBI

by Sam Pollard

MLK/FBI

Sam Pollard

Clock Icon5 min
Insight Icon3 key insights
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MLK/FBI is a documentary detailing the FBI's long-running surveillance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s personal life.

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MLK/FBI

by Sam Pollard

MLK/FBI

Sam Pollard

Overview

Today, Martin Luther King Jr. is approvingly quoted across the American political spectrum. But during his life, despite international recognition as a peacemaker, King was often treated as an enemy of the state at home.

Award-winning filmmaker Sam Pollard, best known for editing Spike Lee films like Jungle Fever and directing documentaries like Mr. Soul!, often takes on the complexities of the human experience in his work. In his documentary MLK/FBI, Pollard explores the outsized suspicion and ever-watchful eye of the FBI that followed the activist through the final years of his life.

MLK/FBI draws on David Garrow's 2015 book The FBI and Martin Luther King, Jr. to outline the hostile relationship between the civil rights activist and federal law enforcement. Besides the book, the film uses newly declassified documents and audio collected during the FBI's surveillance of King, the full record of which will not be released to the public until 2027.

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Favorite Quote

"When you construct a man as a great man, there's nothing almost more satisfying than also seeing him represented as the opposite."

Beverly Gage, Professor of 20th century American history at Yale University

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