Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954 - 1963 - Chapter 18, To Birmingham, Summary & Analysis

Taylor Branch
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In October of 1962, the Cuba Missile Crisis took place. Shortly before, an article in a New Orleans newspaper accused O'Dell, the director of SCLC, of being a concealed member of the Communist party who was using the SCLC to carry out his Communist party assignments. The article is assumed to have been written by members of the House Un-American Activities Committee, who had suspected O'Dell of Communist allegiance since the time he wrote an article in 1958. The New Orleans article caused great tension in SCLC, which was at the time planning a Sammy Davis fundraiser with O'Dell handling the finances. Hoover and the FBI heard Levison defend O'Dell over the wiretaps on his phones. This led to Hoover launching a full-scale investigation of King, using the chaos of the missile crisis to justify his actions. Hoover also received permission to add...

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