Stanley Levison

From Metapedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Stanley D. Levison
Stanley Levison.jpg

Stanley Levison, close friend of Martin Luther King, Jr., who drafted his iconic "I Have a Dream" Speech.

Born 2 May 1912(1912-05-02) in New York City, United States
Died 12 September 1979 (aged 67) in New York City, United States
Nationality American
Occupation Businessman, lawyer
Spouse Beatrice Merkin Levison
Children Andrew Levison
Parents Harry Dudley Levison
Esther Kirstein Levison

Stanley David Levison (2 May 1912 – 12 September 1979) was a Jewish attorney, communist and handler to black civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.


Stanley D. Levison.jpg

Levison studied at the University of Michigan, Columbia University, and the New School for Social Research. He later earned two law degrees from St. John’s University. Levison became independently wealthy from early success with real estate ventures and running a Ford dealership with his twin brother Roy in northern New Jersey.[1] Levison became one of the most highly respected Jews in New York and was the treasure of the local Manhattan branch of the American Jewish Congress.

Communist Party executive

Levison was a fund-raiser for the Communist Party USA.[2] Levison handled the finances of the Communist Party until 1955 when he moved his talents to the so-called Civil Rights Movement.[3] Thereafter Levison would continue to contribute and personally finance the party. The FBI suspected Levison’s alleged break with the party was a cover and his special relationship with King was an assignment designated to him by the party’s Soviet sponsors.[4]

In 1956 Stanley Levison, a Jewish attorney from New York, began raising funds to support the Montgomery bus boycott and became acquainted with Martin Luther King, Jr. The two men developed a close relationship in which Levison not only advised King, but also aided him with the day-to-day administrative demands of the movement.[5]

In 1956, Levinson along with Bayard Rustin and Ella Baker founded "In Friendship" to raise funds for southern civil rights agitators.

The American people are not inclined to change their society in order to free the Negro. They are ready to undertake some, and perhaps major reforms, but not to make a revolution.[6]

Relationship with King

Levison was King’s chief advisor and spoke to him by telephone almost on a daily basis. The FBI with authorization from Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy wiretapped most of these conversations.[7] Communist party leaders would brag their old comrade was King’s number one advisor and was writing most of his speeches.[8] President John F. Kennedy personally warned King to break his association with Levison because of his communist affiliations. Levison for a while backed away for King but continued to direct him thru an intermediary.

Levison was the brainchild in suggesting the development the coalition of black clerics that became the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He was instrumental in finding ghost writers to King's book Why We Can’t Wait.[9]

Adam Clayton Powell, Harlem representative to Congress, warned blacks that King was a captive to "outside interests", meaning communists.[10]


Levison died at his home in New York City in 1979, age 67, from complications with diabetes and cancer.

See also

Further reading

External link


  1. The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 290, page 81
  2. From Civil Rights to Human Rights, By Thomas F. Jackson, Martin Luther King (Jr.), page 41
  3. From Civil Rights to Human Rights, By Thomas F. Jackson, Martin Luther King (Jr.), page 78
  4. Bearing the cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian..., By David J. Garrow, page 195
  5. Levison, Stanley David
  6. Stanley David Levison
  7. A Guide to the microfilm edition of the Martin Luther King, Jr., FBI file: The King-Levison file, page iv
  8. Bearing the cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian..., By David J. Garrow, page 195
  9. Just my soul responding: rhythm and blues, black consciousness, and race. By Brian Ward, page 310
  10. The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr, page 31