Lords of the Drinks

Martin Luther King, Civil Rights Icon and Drunken Libertine


While Martin Luther King was having coffee in public, this was not his drink of choice in his private time.

Whenever hearing the name Martin Luther King Jr. four other words will immediately pop into one’s head: “I have a dream”. Possibly the most famous phrase from any speech ever held. The Christian minister King (1929-1968) is a worldwide icon in the fight for equal rights for coloured people. Shot dead at the age of 39 King literally gave his life for this cause. The stories on Martin Luther King the martyr are plenty. But very little has been told about his other great passion in life: drunken sex orgies. That’s right, the good reverend was no stranger to the temptations in life. And thanks to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) many acts were recorded and documented. Time to take a peak at the man behind the legend.

While journalists and other followers of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s were quite aware of the vibrant personal life of Martin Luther King nothing on the matter was ever published. Simply because it was a different time with different rules when it came to the privacy of public figures. In the same way president John F. Kennedy was spared by the media for his sexual adventures. Oh how times have changed in the 50 years after King’s death. Half a century after his assassination the FBI released many documents they had on the naughty minister. While they initially started following King because of suspected ties to known communists, they found little evidence of that. What was left was a huge collection of drunken orgies and other sexual escapades.

Biographer David Garrow felt obligated to write an almost 8.000 word article on the matter, but no American magazine wanted or dared to publish this piece. Finally Garrow had more luck on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The British magazine Standpoint published his article in 2019 under the header . We strongly advice you to read it, while we just take out some juicy parts that involve King enjoying a few drinks.

Not long after the wire taps on King had started in 1963 FBI agents were sitting front row as the intoxicated civil rights icon was involved in a wild orgy that included the rape of a woman. It was January 1964 and King and some other ministers were in Washington DC for a few nights. Members of the Bureau had placed bugs in the lamps of their hotel rooms. Logan Kearse, a pastor from Baltimore, had brought along a few female parishioners that he wanted King and the others to meet. William Sullivan, head of the Domestic Intelligence Division of the FBI, described what happened next: “The group met in his room and discussed which women among the parishioners would be suitable for natural or unnatural sex acts. When one of the women protested that she did not approve of this, the Baptist minister (Kearse, MB) immediately and forcibly raped her. King looked on, laughed and offered advice.”

Shockingly enough a well documented rape by a Christian pastor was no reason for the FBI to intervene. Apparently exposing Martin Luther King as a Marxist was more important to the Bureau. And so the merry bunch of ministers could continue the festivities the following night. Sullivan witnessed a sex orgy in which approximately 12 individuals participated. The FBI-agent noticed “acts of degeneracy and depravity.” When King tried to encourage a girl to perform oral sex for the first time he told her such an act would ‘help her soul’. Later Sullivan described: “King announced that he preferred to perform unnatural acts on women and that he has started the International Association for the Advancement of Pussy Eaters.”

In Atlanta the office of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was also bugged and recorded King’s friend Barbara Meredith telling how her buddy behaved at a small party. “King got very drunk and made uncomplimentary remarks about some of the SCLC personnel.” It was more or less a confirmation of the minister’s wild side.

In May 1964 King and two other pastors visited Las Vegas and had the well-known gospel singer Clara Ward arrange a white hooker for them. The FBI looked up this 28-year old prostitute named Gail LaRue and recorded her story. She said Ward gave her 100 dollars and said: “I have a couple of friends in town that would like to meet you and have you take care of them.” LaRue stated how King met with Ward and herself in the bar of the Sands Hotel, took them up to his room and started drinking. As King, Ward and another minister had their way with the prostitute all got quite intoxicated and the FBI report said: “Gail then stated that she was getting scared as they were pretty drunk and all using filthy language and at last she told Clara Ward she would have to go.” The hooker also declared: “that was the worst orgy I’ve ever gone through.”

In total the FBI recorded evidence of around 40 extramarital affairs by the reverend. The Bureau even tried to blackmail King into committing suicide, but the minister rather risked full exposure of his private life. Till the day he died Martin Luther King kept fighting for equal rights for the black community in the United States. Nowadays more than a thousand streets are named after him, as well as many schools and even a national holyday. Absolutely not bad for a binge drinking libertine..

Micky Bumbar

More drinkers that left their mark on the world’s history.