Decades ago, the FBI targeted Black activists who were fighting for equality — now, this sad chapter of history is repeating itself.
Zinn Education Project
On March 8, 1971—while Muhammad Ali was fighting Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden, and as millions sat glued to their TVs watching the bout unfold—a group of peace activists broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, and stole every document they could find. These documents revealed an FBI conspiracy—known as COINTELPRO—to disrupt and destroy a wide range of protest groups, including the Black freedom movement.
In These Times
Recounts the short, complicated history of the Black Panther Party. Using remarkable black-and-white archival footage, the current voices of more than twenty former Panthers, a former FBI agent, several retired police officers, a number of Panther lawyers and community activists, and a collection of historians and accompanied by some soul stirring period music, the lessons to those engaged in today’s struggles against racism and for justice are there for all to see.
A review of The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI, by Betty Medsger (Alfred A. Knopf, 2014) by Lawrence S. Wittner. The Burglary tells the story of how, on March 8, 1971, in the midst of the Vietnam War, eight peace activists broke into an FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, in an effort to discover whether the FBI was working, illegally, to suppress American dissent.
On December 4, 1969, Chicago police raided Hampton’s apartment and shot and killed him in his bed. He was just 21 years old. Black Panther leader Mark Clark was also killed in the raid. Authorities claimed the Panthers had opened fire on the police who were there to serve a search warrant for weapons, evidence later emerged that told a very different story: the FBI, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Chicago police conspired to assassinate Fred Hampton.
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Electronic Frontier Foundation