- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 29, 2002

Martin Luther King III urged Attorney General John Ashcroft yesterday to support legislative efforts to remove former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's name from the FBI's headquarters building.
"While it is the legislative right of Congress to pass legislation dropping the name, it is the moral right of those serious about justice to have a position on this issue," said Mr. King, son of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, in a letter to Mr. Ashcroft.
On the 39th anniversary of the "I Have a Dream" speech on the National Mall, King's son, the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, appealed to Mr. Ashcroft to rename FBI headquarters.
"We feel that it is unjust that a man who really did some very notorious and negative things, that his name is on that building," Mr. King told reporters outside the Justice Department, across Pennsylvania Avenue from the FBI's towering building. "It's an insult. It's a disgrace."
"If I was in Germany today and walked down the street and saw a brand new building with Adolf Hitler's name on it, I would think something very unethical is going on," added Dick Gregory, a member of the SCLC's board of directors. "I think that's the way we should feel about that building across the street."
Mr. Hoover, who was director of the FBI and its predecessor from 1924 until his death in 1972, gained notoriety for probing gangsters and Communists, modernizing investigative techniques and securing more funding for his agency.
Mr. Hoover investigated civil-rights activists like King for Communist associations but also gathered evidence of private indiscretions.
Rep. Dan Burton, Indiana Republican and chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, introduced legislation in July calling for the removal of Mr. Hoover's name.
"Symbolism matters in the United States, and it is wrong to honor a man who frequently manipulated the law to achieve his personal goals," Mr. Burton said then.

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