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civil rights

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FBI kept a close eye on Black Panther Party co-founder Elbert Howard’s global travels

FBI kept a close eye on Black Panther Party co-founder Elbert Howard’s global travels

From 1967 to 1970, Black Panther Party founding member and Deputy Minister of Information Elbert “Big Man” Howard went on an international tour to mingle with foreign revolutionary movements, promote the BPP’s agenda, and raise money for the party. Documents released through FOIA following Howard’s death last June show that throughout all his travels - from Japan to Sweden to Algeria - the Federal Bureau of Investigation was tracking him and his activities.

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The CIA’s chief recruiter of the ‘60s argued that hiring minorities meant racism against white people

The CIA’s chief recruiter of the ‘60s argued that hiring minorities meant racism against white people

While the Central Intelligence Agency’s efforts to recruit more people of color stretches back decades,those efforts were unfortunately tainted by racism, as demonstrated by memos from the Agency’s chief recruiters in the ‘60s and ‘70s. In one sentence, the Agency recruiter declared that the age of hiring token POC was over. In the next, they declared that hiring POC meant passing over white applicants who were “better qualified.”

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Oliver W. Hill’s FBI file reveals casual racism, a lack of Communist ties, and a case of mistaken identity

Oliver W. Hill’s FBI file reveals casual racism, a lack of Communist ties, and a case of mistaken identity

Oliver White Hill is among the country’s most important civil rights attorneys of the 20th century, known for pursuing cases to dismantle segregation in Virginia before and after serving in the army during World War II. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s file on Hill, however, offers its own remarkably skewed, racist, and paranoid view of Hill’s work, in keeping with Director J. Edgar Hoover’s deeply held suspicion of the Civil Rights movement.

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The Reverend and the Director: FBI files capture the one and only face-to-face meeting between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Reverend and the Director: FBI files capture the one and only face-to-face meeting between J. Edgar Hoover and Martin Luther King, Jr.

While a not-insignificant percentage of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s activities under Director J. Edgar Hoover were driven by personal vendettas, few were as well-known – or as publicly vicious – as Hoover’s feud with civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. That clash quite literally came to a head on December 1, 1964, when, at the urging of President Lyndon Johnson, Hoover invited King to FBI headquarters for their first - and only - face to face meeting, captured in a ten-page memo in King’s file.

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FBI file on Josephine Baker details plot to sabotage singer's trip to Cuba

FBI file on Josephine Baker details plot to sabotage singer’s trip to Cuba

Beginning in the early ’50s, the Federal Bureau of Investigation began keeping what would become an extensive file on the singer and civil rights activist Josephine Baker, tracking with great interest her comments in the international press critical of racial discrimination in the U.S. Though the Bureau never formally opened an investigation into Baker, it fielded several requests from the Immigration and Naturalization Service to collect derogatory information that would help make the case for denying her a visa and barring her entry to the country.

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