When Jacqueline Kennedy recorded a series of extended 1964 interviews with Arthur Schlesinger, the recordings of which will be released next week, the intent was to leave something for historical posterity. But the test will be to see if that has a chance in the intensity of today’s information age.
As august as the hours and hours of interviews will sound, the first bombshell is what Kennedy says about Martin Luther King. “I just can’t see a picture of Martin Luther King without thinking, you know, that man’s terrible,” she is heard on the tapes.
Among other things, Kennedy repeats a story about what King said about her husband’s funeral. “He made fun of Cardinal Cushing and said that he was drunk at it. And things about they almost dropped the coffin and — well, I mean Martin Luther King is really a tricky person,” she says.
ABC News has the exclusive on the release of the tapes, with a special planned on Tuesday, “Jacqueline Kennedy: In Her Own Words,” with Caroline Kennedy as a guest. But the Associated Press got ahold of a copy of the volume this week, and published a story with details of its contents.
Caroline Kennedy certainly was aware how the more salacious comments would play, and she tells ABC that her mother’s comments about King reflect the influence of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who fed the Kennedys information he had gathered on King and other figures.
“It shows you the poisonous … activities of J. Edgar Hoover, and the idea that this is going on at the highest levels of government is really twisted,” Caroline Kennedy said.
“If you asked her what she thought of Martin Luther King overall — I mean she admired him tremendously,” she added.