Thursday, March 6, 2008

This Week's IRS "Hall of (A Little) Shame" Inductee: Martin Luther King, Jr.

So, we waited until after Black History Month to post this one. But, yes, it's true, Dr. King was accused of having a tax problem.

On Feb. 17, 1960, a warrant was issued for Martin Luther King, Jr.'s arrest on charges he had falsified his 1956 and 1958 Alabama state income tax returns. An all-white jury acquitted him in May.

Supporters have noted such charges were often used to discredit leaders of the U.S. civil-rights movement.

Dr. King said about his trial: "I am frank to confess that on this occasion I learned that truth and conviction in the hands of a skillful advocate could make what started out as a bigoted, prejudiced jury, choose the path of justice. I cannot help but wish in my heart that the same kind of skill and devotion which Bill Ming and Hubert Delaney accorded to me could be available to thousands of civil rights workers, to thousands of ordinary Negroes, who are every day facing prejudiced courtrooms."

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