Home / Full timeline / Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) files stolen from a Bureau office in Media, Pennsylvania, and released to the public, reveal that the FBI is targeting Black student groups.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) files stolen from a Bureau office in Media, Pennsylvania, and released to the public, reveal that the FBI is targeting Black student groups.
1971 (Mar 8)
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) files stolen from a Bureau office in Media, Pennsylvania, and released to the public revealed several documents relating to Black activist groups. One of the FBI memoranda was a November 4, 1970, dispatch from Director J. Edgar Hoover ordering an investigation of all groups organized to project the demands of Black students. The dispatch said that increased campus disorders involving Black students posed a definite threat to the nation's stability and security and indicated a need for an increase in both the quality and quantity of intelligence information on Black student unions and similar groups. The memorandum went on to say that such groups were targets for influence and control by the Black Panther party and other extremist organizations. (Black student unions and other such groups had sprung up on mostly predominantly white campuses during the past five years. Their origins stemmed from the increased enrollment of Black students at such schools and the bias which they allegedly encountered on the campuses. Sometimes their organized protests bordered on violence.) The memoranda also contained a report of a 1970 convention of the National Association of Black Students at Wayne State University in Detroit, reports of surveillance of Black student activities at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, of the Philadelphia Black Panthers, and the National Black Economic Conference held in Philadelphia during 1970. Muhammad Kenyatta, who headed the Philadelphia conference and was mentioned prominently in several of the FBI documents, stated on March 24 that he had received copies of the memoranda relating to him before they were published. He would not identify his sources. On March 23, attorney general John Mitchell denounced the thefts and the publication of the records. He warned that the information could endanger the lives of people engaged in investigative activities on behalf of the United States.