Rev. Walter Edward Fauntroy

Walter Edward Fauntroy was born in Washington on 6th February, 1933. After attending Yale University Divinity School he became the pastor of the New Bethel Baptist Church. An active member of the civil rights movement Fauntroy was a member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), an organization led by Martin Luther King, Ralph David Abernathy, Fred Shutterworth, and Bayard Rustin.

In 1961, Fauntroy was appointed by Martin Luther King as director of the Washington Bureau of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He then worked as the Washington coordinator of the 1963 March on Washington and two years later directed the Selma March.

In 1966 President Lyndon B. Johnson appointed Fauntroy vice chairman of the White House’s “To Fulfill These Rights” conference. The following year Johnson appointed him vice chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia. In 1969 Fauntroy became national coordinator of the Poor People’s Campaign.

A member of the Democratic Party in 1971 Fauntroy was elected to Congress. In 1975, Frank Church became the chairman of the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities. In its final report, issued in April 1976, the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities concluded: “Domestic intelligence activity has threatened and undermined the Constitutional rights of Americans to free speech, association and privacy. It has done so primarily because the Constitutional system for checking abuse of power has not been applied.”

The committee also reported that the Central Intelligence Agency had withheld from the Warren Commission, during its investigation of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, information about plots by the Government of the United States against Fidel Castro of Cuba; and that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had conducted a counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO) against Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

As a result of Church’s report Congress established the House Select Committee on Assassinations in September 1976. The resolution authorized a 12-member select committee to conduct an investigation of the circumstances surrounding the deaths of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Louis Stokes was named chairman of the committee. Two subcommittees were created – a subcommittee on the assassination of President Kennedy, with Richardson Preyer of North Carolina as its chairman, and a subcommittee on the assassination of Dr. King, with Fauntroy as its chairman.

In 1979 the House Select Committee on Assassinations reported that there was “a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy” in Dallas.

Walter Fauntroy retired from Congress in 1990.