A short follow-up to my recent posts. I’m quoting from yesterday’s article in the Guardian: “The FBI has declassified its file on Aretha Franklin…which shows the bureau extensively tracked the singer’s civil rights activism and her friendships with Martin Luther King Jr and Angela Davis.” The file was 270 pages long and “includes close documentation of Franklin’s performances for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), of which King was president. The FBI labeled these shows, held in Memphis and Atlanta in 1967 and 1968, as ‘communist infiltration’ events.”
So besides their long history of going after suspected Communists, Hollywood screenwriters, labor organizers, gays, antiwar activists, civil rights activists, Muslims, the Jewish Defense League, etc., the agency can add to its accomplishments the surveillance of a woman that Rolling Stone included among the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”
We don’t need to list all of Aretha Franklin’s accomplishments during the 76 years of her life, but it interesting to note that she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005—by George W. Bush! The FBI just declassified its file on her, 17 years later, and only at the request of journalist Jenn Dize via the Freedom of Information Act. So far I haven’t heard any apologies from the agency.
No respect, indeed.