Speed Reads

Blast from the past

Newly obtained letter from 1986 details Coretta Scott King's concerns about Jeff Sessions

A voice from the past has now entered the debate over Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions (R) becoming the next attorney general of the United States.

On Tuesday night, The Washington Post obtained a letter Coretta Scott King, the widow of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., wrote to Congress in 1986, urging them to reject the nomination of Sessions to a federal judgeship (his confirmation was ultimately denied). At the time, Strom Thurmond, the senator from South Carolina and chairman of the Judiciary Committee, did not enter the letter into the congressional record.

Over nine pages, King spelled out how Sessions could "irreparably damage the work of my husband." She said Sessions "has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters," and "for this reprehensible conduct, he should not be rewarded with a federal judgeship." King warned that should Sessions be confirmed, "he will be given life tenure for doing with a federal prosecution what the local sheriffs accomplished 20 years ago with clubs and cattle prods." In her letter, she described what it was like to fight for civil rights in the 1960s, and her belief that Sessions jeopardized everything she and others involved in the movement fought so hard for. Read the entire letter at The Washington Post.