The Jim Crow south not only meant separate drinking fountains and restrooms. It also meant separate libraries and books. Laws and local policies also placed restrictions on what could be disseminated and published. Dr. King–as well as those who worked to build libraries and ensure that they be free to use–operated within this system and sought to get rid of this system.
One might think of the covert, sometimes illegal FBI surveillance of the Black Panthers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and various other political dissidents as the petri dish where experiments with overreach were conducted years before they were unleashed on the general public. It is only within past decade or so that we are learning just how extensive the surveillance was through the Freedom of Information Act. It is only now that people like artist Sadie Barnette are beginning to come to terms with what it means.