The way he literally sang out "I'm not fearing any man...mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord" whilst he was sick with the flu and collapsed into the arms of his cohorts afterward once again touched my soul.
He cheated on his wife...and they sent her the tapes
Yes, MLK cheated on his wife -- a wife who loved him so much, it was reported by Maya Angelou that Coretta said his name so softly and sweetly...like Mah-tin...
It was said that when J. Edgar Hoover had Dr. King's hotel rooms bugged with not only audio but video equipment that caught him on tape with various women in sexually compromising positions -- and then sent those tapes to Coretta -- it crushed her.
And yet, I was just thinking to myself: God still used him mightily, despite his flaws.
There is hope for all of us.
Whether the sexual sin somehow contributed to the Lord allowing his life to be cut short, we'll only know on the other side of heaven.
But reading his good friend Ralph David Abernathy's view on MLK's cheating and relationship with women helped me understand him better.
Read what Martin Luther King's friend wrote about his sexual affairs
Much as been written in recent years about my friend’s weakness for women. Had others not dealt with the matter in such detail, I might have avoided any commentary.
Unfortunately, some of these commentators have told only the bare facts without suggesting the reasons why Martin might have indulged in such behavior. They have also left a false impression about the range of his activities. Martin and I were away more often than we were at home; and while this was no excuse for extramarital relations, it was a reason.
Some men are better able to bear such deprivations than others, though all of us in SCLC headquarters had our weak moments. We all understood and believed in the biblical prohibition against sex outside of marriage. It was just that he had a particularly difficult time with that temptation.
In addition to his personal vulnerability, he was also a man who attracted women, even when he didn’t intend to, and attracted them in droves. Part of his appeal was his predominant role in the black community and part of it was personal. During the last ten years of his life, Martin Luther King was the most important black man in America. That fact alone endowed him with an aura of power and greatness that women found very appealing. He was a hero – the greatest hero of his age – and women are always attracted to a hero.
But he also had a personal charm that ingratiated him with members of the opposite sex. He was always gracious and courteous to women, whether they were attractive to him or not. He had perfect manner. He was well educated. He was warm and friendly. He could make them laugh. He was good company, something that cannot always be said of heroes. These qualities made him even more attractive in close proximity than he was at a distance.
Then, too, Martin’s own love of women was apparent in ways that could not be easily pinpointed – but which women clearly sense, even from afar. I remember on more than one occasion sitting on a stage and having Martin turn to me to say, “Do you see that woman giving me the eye, the one in the red dress?”
I wouldn’t be able to pick her out at such a distance, but already she had somehow conveyed to him her attraction and he in turn had responded to it. Later I would see them talking together, as if they had known one another forever.
I was always a little bewildered at how strongly and unerringly this mutual attraction operated. A recent biography has suggested without quite saying so that Martin had affairs with white women as well as black. Such a suggestion is without foundation. I can say with the greatest confidence that he was never attracted to white women and had nothing to do with them, despite the opportunities that may have presented themselves.
Of course, J. Edgar Hoover became preoccupied with Martin’s private life early in the civil rights movement, and this preoccupation was a significant factor in Hoover’s pathological hatred of him and the movement he headed. Early in the game the FBI began to bug our various hotel rooms, hoping to discover our strategy but also gather evidence that could be used against Martin personally.
I remember in particular a stay at the Willard Hotel in Washington, where they not only put in audio receivers, but video equipment as well. Then, after collecting enough of this “evidence” to be useful, they began to distribute it to reporters, law officers, and other people in a position to hurt us. Finally, when no one would do Hoover’s dirty work for him, someone in the FBI put together a tape of highly intimate moments and sent them to Martin. Unfortunately – and perhaps this was deliberate – [his wife] Coretta received the tape and played it first. But such accusations never seemed to touch her. She rose above all the petty attempts to damage their marriage by refusing to even entertain such thoughts.