January 16, 2012
Martin Luther King Jr. and Tax
In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: reports on how some southern officials tried to use state tax laws to stop King and the nascent civil rights movement:
- "In Alabama, ... Governor John Patterson in early 1960 directed state revenue authorities to charge Martin Luther King, Jr., with tax evasion and perjury in completing his Alabama state income tax returns. The charges against King, who had already moved his ministry from the Dexter Street Church in Montgomery to his father's church in Atlanta, specified that he had diverted money raised for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) into his own pockets without ever reporting it as income." Kermit L. Hall, "Lies, Lies, Lies": The Origins of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan, 9 Comm. L. & Pol'y 391, 404 (2004).
- "The only person ever prosecuted under the Georgia income tax perjury statute was Martin Luther King." Corey R. Chivers, Desuetude, Due Process, and the Scarlet Letter Revisited, 1992 Utah L. Rev. 449, 454 n.27.
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May perhaps be worth mentioning that the charges were so blatantly trumped-up that an all-white Alabama jury acquitted Dr. King at that 1960 state income tax evasion trial, where he was represented by African-American lawyers from the north.
Posted by: Peter G | Jan 19, 2012 12:18:44 AM