Unlike the Timeline on Violence, there are no individual, external motivations or sources to cite. This was a part of my entire project to provide relevant information on the history of colonization and black liberation in the U.S.
Generally, that includes an overview and analysis of the eras of Slavery, Jim Crow and Mass Incarceration, as well as the transitional periods of Reconstruction and the Civil Rights Movement.
Specifically, with regard to 20th Century Targeting, this is a contribution to the history of U.S., government complicity and direct involvement in the targeting, imprisoning, exiling and assassinating of black leaders and in the destruction of the black community and organizations generally.
This does not stand as an entirely comprehensive list with extremely detailed explanations (on my part); it is, however, a tremendous resource and reference for names, court cases, articles and descriptions of a who, what, when, where, and why, for individuals targeted in the 20th century.
This mainly focuses on two core strategies that fall under the broad categories of McCarthyism and COINTELPRO. Those names are often used not only to refer to what is officially the McCarthy era and COINTELPRO operation, they are categories that usually include other anti-communist activity and politically motivated, anti-left targeting and eras such as The First/Second Red Scare (in the case of McCarthyism) and the entirety of police and military intelligence operations against citizens of the United States (in the case of COINTELPRO).
As with the Timeline, which was dedicated to Ida B. Wells-Barnett, I would like to continue that tradition here. There were many great leaders targeted from Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., to Fred Hampton and Tupac Shakur. Any one of these incredible and inspirational individuals are deserving of dedication; however, I would like to especially dedicate this page to George Jackson and his brother Jonathan Jackson.
This post will also be available as an educational resource on the site. https://www.theeleatic.com/education/black-history/history-of-black-liberation-and-colonization-timeline-of-violence/
Those black leaders targeted by the government for political activity, including those who either as informants, agents or unwittingly, worked against the interest(s) of the black community:
Table of Contents
Those mostly targeted by the FBI, the CIA and other police/military intelligence agencies. Operations surrounding The Red Scare, McCarthyism and anti-communism, as well as COINTELPRO and other COINTELPRO-like, police and military intelligence operations.
See COINTELPRO and McCarthyism for additional information and relevant details. Additional notes will be added the the website soon for reference.
Ferdinand Smith: labor activist, targeted by McCarthyism, deported…
“In the 1920s, impressed by their commitment to racial issues, Smith joined the Communist-led Marine Workers Industrial Union.”
The Red Scare that swept the country after 1945 soon led to Smith’s expulsion from the NMU…Smith, who had been under government surveillance for years, was detained by the federal government beginning in February 1948 and was deported in 1951.”
Collisson, Craig. “Ferdinand Christopher Smith (1893-1961).” Black Past, March 28, 2011. https://blackpast.org/african-american-history/smith-ferdinand-christopher-1893-1961/
“RULING ON 5 ALIENS DELAYED BY COURT; Alleged Communists at Liberty on Bail as Judges Weigh Plea in Deportation Cases.” The New York Times, March 11, 1948. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1948/03/11/96420489.html?pageNumber=13
Benjamin J. Davis Jr.: attorney, politician, targeted by McCarthyism, jailed…
“On Friday the 14th of October 1949, Benjamin J. Davis Jr. became the only member of the New York City Council ever to be convicted of conspiring to overthrow the federal government.
Benjamin Davis, after four years behind bars, became head of the American Communist Party. At his death in August 1964, he was again under indictment.”
Maeder, Jay. “The Communist Councilman: The Trial and Conviction of Benjamin Davis.” nydailynews.com. New York Daily News, August 14, 2017. https://nydailynews.com/news/politics/communist-councilman-trial-conviction-benjamin-davis-article-1.818751
“DATES IN THE TRIAL OF 11 COMMUNISTS; Proceedings Began on July 20, 1948, With Indictment by Federal Grand Jury.” The New York Times, October 15, 1949. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1949/10/15/96474958.html?pageNumber=4
William L. Patterson: lawyer, activist, targeted by McCarthyism, activism undermined, jailed…
“…Patterson, Civil Rights Congress leader charged…that the State Department had stolen his passport…
…Patterson…also charged that he had been snubbed at the Paris UN meeting by Dr. Channing H. Tobias, and Dr. Ralph J. Bunche (see We Charge Genocide).
…he charged last Friday, however, that none of the books had been delivered…hinted that the US Government had confiscated them en route.”
Hicks, James L. “Patterson Charges US Stole Passport.” Washington Afro-American. January 29, 1952. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=HDsmAAAAIBAJ&sjid=rv4FAAAAIBAJ&dq=patterson%20charges%20us%20stole%20passport&pg=4609%2C3636082
“PATTERSON IS JAILED FOR CONTEMPT AGAIN”. The New York Times. November 20, 1954. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1954/11/20/86792000.html?pageNumber=32
Lena Horne: artist, activist, targeted by McCarthyism, blacklisted…
“During the 1940s, Lena Horne’s good looks and silky singing voice made her one of the first African American stars of the stage and screen. She still ran up against institutional racism, however, and her frustrations eventually drove her to join up with a variety of activist groups, many of which were populated by political radicals and Communists. Though never a Party member herself, Horne was found guilty by association and blacklisted after her name appeared in ‘Red Channels’ in 1950.”
Andrews, Evan. “7 Artists Whose Careers Were Almost Derailed by the Hollywood Blacklist.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, July 11, 2016. https://history.com/news/7-famous-victims-of-the-hollywood-blacklist
“The Cold War Home Front: Red Channels.” History on the Net, July 18, 2012. https://historyonthenet.com/authentichistory/1946-1960/4-cwhomefront/1-mccarthyism/Red_Channels/index.html
Claudia Jones: journalist, activist, targeted by McCarthyism, deported…
“Claudia Jones national secretary of the women’s commission of the Communist party was ordered deported yesterday by Joseph J. Mack…
…under the Internal Security Act of 1950 as an alien who became a member of the Communist party of the United States.”
“OUSTER ORDERED OF CLAUDIA JONES; Hearing Officer Finds Her an Alien Who Became Member of Communist Party.” The New York Times, December 22, 1950. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1950/12/22/82087717.html?pageNumber=13
Langston Hughes: poet, activist, target by McCarthyism , called and testified, tempered activism…
“…Hughes was also suspected of being a communist sympathizer…was even called to testify before Joseph McCarthy during the Red Scare.
…In the 1930s [poems] he criticized capitalism, called…worker’s to rise…in revolution…”
Miller, Jason. “Langston Hughes’ Hidden Influence on MLK.” NC State News, April 2, 2018. https://news.ncsu.edu/2018/04/langston-hughes-mlk-influence/
Hughes, Langston. “A New Song.” A New Song. International Workers Order, New York, 1938. Retrieved from https://poetrynook.com/poem/new-song-0
“Let me ask you this: Have you ever been a Communist?”
Testimony of Langston Hughes before the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations a.k.a. McCarthy Committee, March 24, 1953. Executive Sessions of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Committee on Government Operations, S. Prt. 107-84. Government Printing Office, 2003. k-state.edu, August 8, 2008. https://k-state.edu/english/nelp/childlit/radical/McCarthy_Kay_Hughes.html#hughes
Paul Robeson: artist, activist, targeted by McCarthyism, blacklisted…
“…Robeson was attacked, blacklisted and hounded by the government for his political beliefs. For years, Robeson was tracked by the FBI as well as the CIA, Department of State, and numerous other government agencies. Together they compiled tens of thousands of documents on him, which they used to bring him before McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee. In 1949 Robeson was effectively blacklisted, and in 1950, the government revoked his passport. For eight years he was barred from travel, a prisoner in his own country.”
“Black History Month Tribute to Paul Robeson.” Democracy Now!, February 4, 2005. https://democracynow.org/2005/2/4/black_history_month_tribute_to_paul
Testimony of Paul Robeson before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, June 12, 1956. History Matters: The US Survey Course on the Web, 2019. http://historymatters.gmu.edu/d/6440
W.E.B. Du Bois: pioneering social theorist and political activist, target by McCarthyism, died in exile…
“…he was indicted, arrested, and arraigned in federal court as an agent of the Soviet Union…
…They put Du Bois on trial in order to brand him as ‘un-American,’ to use the language of Joe McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee…A federal judge acquitted him because prosecutors failed to present any evidence.
…Nevertheless, the trial and the publicity around it ruined his career…And the trial hardly ended the state persecution. In 1952 the State Department illegally revoked Du Bois’s passport to stop him from traveling…The Supreme Court restored passport rights for suspected communists in 1958, and three years later Du Bois used his regained freedom of travel to become an expat in newly postcolonial Ghana. But while he was there, the State Department refused to renew his passport, effectively annulling his United States citizenship. The American civil rights icon became a Ghanaian citizen and died there in 1963.”
Lanham, Andrew. “When W. E. B. Du Bois Was Un-American.” Boston Review, May 3, 2017. http://bostonreview.net/race-politics/andrew-lanham-when-w-e-b-du-bois-was-un-american
Medgar Evers: activist, NAACP, assassinated…
“In the early morning hours of June 12, 1963, a gunman hid in the honeysuckle bushes near the Evers’ driveway. As the activist walked from his car to his house, the sniper opened fire, shooting Evers in the back.”
NewsHour, PBS. “The Medgar Evers Assassination.” PBS. Public Broadcasting Service, April 18, 2002. https://pbs.org/newshour/nation/media-jan-june02-evers_04-18
Robert F. Williams: activist, NAACP chapter leader, targeted by FBI, exile, returned, later acquitted…
“…civil rights…turned black revolutionary…”
Stout, David. “Robert F. Williams, 71, Civil Rights Leader and Revolutionary.” The New York Times, October 19, 1996. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1996/10/19/884499.html?pageNumber=47
UPI. “Charges dropped against Williams.” Star-News. January 17, 1976. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=LrosAAAAIBAJ&sjid=GhMEAAAAIBAJ&pg=4497,2746287&dq=robert+williams+monroe&hl=en
Martin Luther King Jr.: minister, activist, targeted by COINTELPRO, assassinated…
“A jury in a civil suit brought by the family of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr….
…case found that Loyd Jowers as well as ‘others, including governmental agencies’ had been part of a conspiracy…”
Yellin, Emily. “Memphis Jury Sees Conspiracy in Martin Luther King’s Killing.” The New York Times, December 9, 1999. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1999/12/09/803812.html?pageNumber=25
King v. Jowers, Case No. 97242 (1999)
Curtin, Edward. “‘Orders to Kill’ Dr. Martin Luther King: The Government That Honors MLK with a National Holiday Killed Him: A Review of The Plot to Kill King by William Pepper.” Global Research, January 21, 2019. https://globalresearch.ca/orders-to-kill-martin-luther-king-the-government-that-honors-mlk-with-a-national-holiday-killed-him/5559300
djvlad. “Judge Joe: James Earl Ray Didn’t Assassinate Martin Luther King Jr.” YouTube, January 18, 2016. https://youtube.com/watch?v=HcJ_szc3TEA
Also, see Langston Hughes.
Malcolm X: minister, activist, targeted by COINTELPRO, assassinated…
“The FBI kept extensive files on Malcolm X…
…[at time of assassination] at least one BSS or BOSS agent was present in the person of Gene Roberts [see Panther 21 case; COINTELPRO], an undercover police officer.”
Azikiwe, Abayomi. “The Impact and Significance of the Assassination of Malcolm X”. Global Research, February 21, 2015. https://globalresearch.ca/the-impact-and-significance-of-the-assassination-of-malcolm-x/5432578
MALCOLM X: The most complete collection of Malcolm X speeches, debates and interviews ever assembled. http://malcolmxfiles.blogspot.com/
Fannie Lou Hamer: activist, SNCC, targeted by police, beaten severely…
“…carried Mrs. Hamer to a cell with two other Black prisoners…ordered…to beat her… When one prisoner became too exhausted to continue beating her, another was forced to take over. …Hamer called the violence…‘the most horrifying experience…in my life.’”
“Beatings in Winona Jail.” SNCC Digital Gateway. Retrieved November, 2019. https://snccdigital.org/events/beatings-winona-jail/
Stokely Carmichael: activists, targeted by COINTELPRO, exile from the US…
“In 1969, Carmichael quit the Black Panthers and left the United States to take up permanent residence in Conakry, Guinea…”
Editors, History.com. “Stokely Carmichael.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, December 18, 2009. https://history.com/topics/black-history/stokely-carmichael
Hersh, Seymour M.“C.I.A. Reportedly Recruited Blacks For Surveillance of Panther Party.” The New York Times, March 17, 1978. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1978/03/17/110805025.html?pageNumber=2
Fred Hampton: activist, Black Panther Party, targeted by COINTELPRO, assassinated…
“‘Of these,’ Hoover said, ‘the Black Panther party, without question, represents the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.’”
Washinton (UPI). “J. Edgar Hoover: Black Panther Greatest Threat to U.S. Security”. UPI Archives, July 16, 1969. https://upi.com/Archives/1969/07/16/J-Edgar-Hoover-Black-Panther-Greatest-Threat-to-US-Security/1571551977068/
“The city, county and Federal authority recently agreed to a settlement… to nine plaintiffs, including the survivors of the police raid and relatives of…Fred Hampton…Mark Clark.
…Mr. Hanrahan and his raiders acted on information supplied by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which had placed an informer in the Chicago Panther chapter…”
Sheppard Jr., Nathaniel. PLAINTIFFS IN PANTHER SUIT ‘KNEW WE WERE RIGHT’. The New York Times. November 14, 1982. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1982/11/14/029691.html?pageNumber=82
“Eyes on the Prize II Interviews: Interview with William O’Neal.” Blackside, Inc., April 13, 1989. Retrieved from Washington University Libraries, Film and Media Archive, Henry Hampton Collection, November 12, 2019. http://digital.wustl.edu/e/eii/eiiweb/one5427.1047.125williamo’neal.html
Hanrahan v. Hampton, 446 U.S. 754 (1980)
Mark Clark: activist, Black Panther Party targeted by COINTELPRO, killed with Fred Hampton…
See Fred Hampton.
Huey Newton: activist, founder of Black Panther Party, targeted by COINTELPRO, left country but returned, trials and imprisoned but appealed or won otherwise, drugs, later murdered…
“What happened to Huey Newton between 1965-’66 and 1988-’89 changed the history of this country, for good or ill. He and Seale formed the Black Panther Party, an Oakland-based national organization that advocated Black Revolution and violent retaliation against racist police brutality. The police and FBI attacks against Newton and his followers were as widespread as those against the American Communist Party two decades before, and were just as devastatingly effective. Huey was involved in a shootout that left an Oakland police officer dead, was jailed several times for that and other offenses, and for a time was forced to leave the country and live in exile in Cuba. His militant actions and the attacks against him made him a hero to many African-Americans and to both the radical and the not-so radical white left. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of American citizens said they were willing to die for Huey Newton and for the causes he championed. Some did.”
Allen-Taylor, J. Douglas. “The Shadow of the Panther (Book Review).” Retrieved from Safero, November 12, 2019. http://safero.org/books/shadowpanther.html
Gorney, Cynthia. “Mistrial Declared in Newton Murder Case.” The Washington Post, March 25, 1979. https://washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1979/03/25/mistrial-declared-in-newton-murder-case/b6408217-1cf0-4c67-a425-9d25b6ac600f/
Rosenfeld, Seth. “New FBI files show wide range of Black Panther informant’s activities.” Reveal, June 9, 2015. https://revealnews.org/article/new-fbi-files-show-wide-range-of-black-panther-informants-activities/
People v. Newton, 8 Cal. App. 3d 359 (Ct. App. 1970)
Smith, Thomas C. “Huey P. Newton Trial: 1968: Two More Trials, Then A Dismissal.” Retrieved from Law Library – American Law and Legal Information, November 12, 2019. https://law.jrank.org/pages/3176/Huey-P-Newton-Trial-1968-Two-More-Trials-then-Dismissal.html
Eldrige Cleaver: writer, Black Panther Party, left country but returned, became Republican…
“He became even more of a symbol when he jumped bail after a shootout between Black Panthers in Oakland, Calif., and the police and fled into exile in Cuba and Algeria…
…[he later in life] drifted in his enthusiasms…embraced various religions…was treated for addiction to crack cocaine in 1990. A crack charge two years later was dropped because of an illegal search, but in 1994 Berkeley police found him staggering about with a severe, never fully explained, head injury and a rock of crack in his pocket. He proclaimed himself a conservative and ran, unsuccessfully, for various local offices as a Republican.”
Kifner, John. “Eldridge Cleaver, Black Panther Who Became G.O.P. Conservative, Is Dead at 62.” The New York Times, May 2, 1962. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1998/05/02/issue.html
Also, see Bobby Hutton and Kathleen Cleaver.
Bobby Hutton: activist, Black Panther Party, killed by police after shootout that Eldrige Cleaver would later take credit for provoking…
Coleman, Kate. “Souled Out: Eldrige Cleaver Admits He Ambushed Those Cops.” New West, May 19, 1980. http://colemantruth.net/kate1.pdf
Kathleen Cleaver: law professor, Black Panther Party…
Cleaver, Kathleen N. “Women, Power and Revolution (1998).” Retrieved from History is a Weapon, November 12, 2019. https://historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/cleaverwomenpowerrev.html
Also, see Eldridge Cleaver.
Alprentice Carter and John Huggins: activists, Black Panthers, targeted by COINTELPRO, assassinated…
Pool, Bob. “Witness to 1969 UCLA shootings speaks at rally.” Los Angeles Times, January 18, 2008. https://latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-2008-jan-18-me-panthers18-story.html
Assata Shakur: activist, Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member, exile in Cuba…
“Between 1973 and 1977 Shakur was indicted 10 times and stood trial for two bank robberies, the kidnaping of a drug dealer, attempted murder of several police officers and the murder of a New Jersey state trooper. She was defended by…Lennox Hinds, William Kunstler, Evelyn Williams, Bob Bloom, Flo Kennedy and Ray Brown. Her trials resulted in three acquittals, a hung jury and two dismissals. Her only conviction was in March 1977, for the May 1973 murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster.”
Nelson, Jill. “The Soul Survivor.” The Washington Post, February 29, 1988. https://washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/1988/02/29/the-soul-survivor/fff0034c-36be-4260-ad27-cb71af0782b7/
Afeni Shakur: activist, mother of Tupac Shakur, targeted by COINTELPRO, trial (acquitted), tempered activism…
“Thirteen Black Panthers, including two who fled to Algeria during their trial, were acquitted yesterday on all 12 counts of an indictment accusing them of conspiring to bomb department stores and police stations and to murder policemen.
…Mrs. Shakur, who is eight months pregnant, represented herself during the trial.
“[Lumumba] Shakur, who is 29 years old and is also known as Anthony Caston, had been labeled one of the ringleaders of the alleged bomb conspiracy…
…Afeni Shakur, one of two women defendants…shrieked and began to sob loudly as the ‘not guilty’ answers rolled out concerning her husband.”
Asbury, Edith Evans. “Black Panther Party Members Freed After Being Cleared of Charges.” The New York Times, May 14, 1971. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1971/05/14/91283120.html?pageNumber=1
Lumumba Shakur: activist, Afeni Shakur’s husband (at time of trial), also acquitted, later would be killed…
See Afeni Shakur.
Mutulu Shakur: activist, Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member, imprisoned…
“Two former fugitives, Mutulu Shakur and Marilyn Buck, were convicted yesterday of taking part in a 1981 Brink’s robbery in which a guard and two police officers were killed in Rockland County.”
Lubasch, Arnold H. “2 Ex-Fugitives Convicted of Roles In Fatal Armored-Truck Robbery.” The New York Times, May 12, 1988. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1988/05/12/389988.html?pageNumber=40
Sekou Odinga: activist, Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member, imprisoned…
“The Queens District Attorney, John J. Santucci, said he would ask that Mr. Odinga be required to serve that sentence after finishing his 40-year sentence for conspiracy and racketeering in the Brink’s case. That sentence was imposed last year by a Federal court.”
“BRINK’S CONVICT IS FOUND GUILTY IN QUEENS SHOOTOUT WITH POLICE”. The New York Times, March 29, 1984. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1984/03/29/086095.html?pageNumber=32
Geronimo Pratt: activist, Panther, imprisoned, conviction later overturned after decades in prison…
“…Pratt, a Black Panther leader…was imprisoned for 27 years for murder…
…Panthers did not support Mr. Pratt’s alibi that he was in Oakland…
Information gradually surfaced…Olsen had identified someone else before…Pratt.
…the informant who said that Mr. Pratt had confessed to him had lied about himself. Wiretap evidence that might have supported Mr. Pratt’s alibi mysteriously vanished from F.B.I. files.
…Pratt languished in solitary confinement…lawyers, led by Johnnie L. Cochran Jr….assembled ammunition for an appeal.
…1997 a California Superior Court judge, Everett W. Dickey, vacated Mr. Pratt’s conviction on the grounds that the government informant, Julius C. Butler, had lied about being one. Moreover, it was learned that the Los Angeles Police Department, the F.B.I. and prosecutors had not shared with the defense their knowledge that Mr. Butler was an informant.
…2000, Mr. Pratt received $4.5 million from the federal and local governments as settlement in a wrongful-imprisonment suit.”
Martin, Douglas. “Elmer G. Pratt, Jailed Panther Leader, Dies at 63.” The New York Times, June 3, 2011. https://nytimes.com/2011/06/04/us/04pratt.html
Re Pratt, 69 Cal. App. 4th 1294 (Cal. Ct. App. 1999)
Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown): activist, targeted by COINTELPRO, imprisoned…
“Federal authorities have long sought to discredit, silence and punish Al-Amin. As part of the FBI’s illegal Counterintelligence Program, or COINTELPRO, J. Edgar Hoover sent a memorandum dated Aug. 25, 1967, to all FBI offices regarding “Black Nationalist Hate Groups” (eerily similar to the supposed current “black identity extremist” threat identified by the FBI).”
Siddiqui, Obaid H. “The Unofficial Gag Order of Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown): 16 Years in Prison, Still Not Allowed to Speak.” The Root, May 30, 2018. https://theroot.com/the-unofficial-gag-order-of-jamil-al-amin-h-rap-brown-1826396693
Lyden, Jacki, and Martha Wexler. “Maryland Town Recalls Racial Unrest in 1967; Flames of Cambridge Stoked by Decades of Division.” NPR, July 29, 2007. https://npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=12420016
Waldron, Martin. “Rap Brown Term is Called Unfair.” The New York Times, July 3, 1974. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1974/07/03/79624077.html?pageNumber=10
Bobby Seale: founding Black Panther member, targeted by COINTELPRO, jailed, later overturned…
“A week after Judge Hoffman first chained and gagged Seale in court, the judge sentenced Seale to four years in prison for contempt of court. He also declared a mistrial in Seale’s case and removed him from the trial…
…after a jury failed to convict the Chicago Seven of conspiracy, the U.S. attorney in Chicago told Judge Hoffman that ‘it would be inappropriate to try Seale alone on a conspiracy charge,’ and the judge dropped Seale’s charges.
…February 18, 1970, the jury acquitted all seven defendants of the conspiracy charges, but still convicted five of them…of individually crossing state lines to incite a riot.
…an appellate court threw out all of the convictions…including Seale’s four years…citing the fact that the judge had been obviously biased…”
Little, Becky. “7 Reasons Why the Chicago 8 Trial Mattered.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, September 24, 2019. https://history.com/news/chicago-8-trial-importance
United States v. Dellinger, 472 F.2d 340 (7th Cir. 1972).
“The judge in the murder-kidnapping case of Bobby G. Seale and Mrs. Ericka Huggins dismissed all charges against them today…”
Oelsner, Lesley. “CHARGES DROPPED IN THE SEALE CASE; ‘PUBLICITY’ CITED.” The New York Times. May 26, 1971. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1971/05/26/81945807.html?pageNumber=1
Erika Huggins: activist, educator, Black Panther, targeted by COINTELPRO, charges but dismissed…
See John Huggins [married] and Bobby Seale [New Haven trial].
Mumia Abu-Jamal: activist, Black Panther, targeted by COINTELPRO imprisoned…
“Mumia Abu-Jamal was closely involved with MOVE…Abu-Jamal was also a former member of the Black Panther Party. Prior to his arrest…worked as a journalist…
In 1995, defence lawyers obtained approximately 700 pages of files on Mumia Abu-Jamal maintained by the…(FBI), via the Freedom of Information Act.
…was under surveillance…with the cooperation and assistance of the Philadelphia police.”
“United States of America: A Life in the Balance: The Case of Mumia Adu-Jamal.” Amnesty International, February 2000. https://amnesty.org/download/Documents/136000/amr510012000en.pdf
Marshall “Eddie” Conway: activist, Black Panther, targeted by COINTELPRO, imprisoned…
“He was convicted of killing a Baltimore police officer in 1970, for which he has always maintained his innocence. The shooting occurred at a time when federal and local authorities were infiltrating and disrupting the Black Panthers and other activist groups. At the time of the shooting, the FBI was also monitoring Conway’s actions as part of its counterintelligence program…”
“Exclusive: Freed Ex-Black Panther Marshall “Eddie” Conway on 44 Years in Prison & FBI Surveillance.” Democracy Now, March 5, 2014. https://democracynow.org/2014/3/5/exclusive_freed_ex_black_panther_marshall
Angela Davis: activist, educator, affiliation with Communist Party and Panthers, trial, acquitted…
“…an all-white jury found Angela Davis not guilty today of murder, kidnapping and criminal conspiracy charges.”
Cladwell, Earl. “Angela Davis Acquitted on All Charges.” The New York Times. June 5, 1972. https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/books/98/03/08/home/davis-acquit.html
George Jackson: activist, founder of Black Guerrilla Family, targeted by COINTELPRO, imprisoned, assassinated in prison…
“He was in…trouble…as a teen…eventually ended up in prison for a gas station holdup.
…the guards…orchestrated…fight and their top sharpshooter killed three Blacks [W.L. Nolen, Cleveland Edwards, Alvin Miller]…a guard was thrown off a tier and killed the night it was learned the county prosecutor would not charge the guards for the three killings. Weeks later, George and two other inmates, Fleeta Drumgo and John Cluchette [Soledad Brothers], were charged with the guard’s murder.
He was murdered in August 1971 by guards…in an alleged ‘escape attempt.’”
Allen, Joe, and Stephen Bingham. “The Assassination of George Jackson.” Socialist Worker, March 3, 2006. http://socialistworker.org/2006-1/578/578_04_GeorgeJackson.php
Hezakya Newz & Films. “1970s SPECIAL REPORT: “GEORGE JACKSON.” YouTube, March, 24 2019. https://youtube.com/watch?v=i908hYkYsLw
Jonathan Jackson: activist, younger brother of George Jackson, killed…
“Jonathan Jackson was only 17 years old when he gave his life for oppressed people on Aug. 7, 1970, when he went to the San Rafael, Calif., courthouse to free his older brother George Jackson, along with Fleeta Drumgo and John Clutchette — the ‘Soledad Brothers.’
…after his younger brother sacrificed his life, George Jackson was assassinated by prison guards on Aug. 21, 1971. George Jackson’s murder sparked the Attica prison rebellion in which 29 prisoners were slaughtered by billionaire New York Gov., Nelson Rockefeller.
On March 27, 1972, the two remaining Soledad Brothers — Fleeta Drumgo and John Clutchette — were acquitted by a San Francisco jury.”
Millies, Stephen. “Long Live the Spirit of Jonathan Jackson.” Workers World, August 8, 2010. https://workers.org/2010/us/jonathan_jackson_0812/
James Baldwin: activist, writer, spied on by FBI, lived on and off outside of the US, especially later in life…
“The FBI’s interest in Baldwin began in 1960…he was ‘connected with several Communist Party front groups’…ties to civil rights and black power movements…befriended some of the most famous black intellectuals and activists of the day, such as Harry Belafonte, Lorraine Hansberry and Nina Simone…”
Gold, Hannah. “Why Did the FBI Spy on James Baldwin?” The Intercept, August 15, 2015. https://theintercept.com/2015/08/15/fbi-spy-james-baldwin/
Dick Gregory: activist, comedian, targeted, continued activism…
“According to a 1978 account in The Washington Post, a month after Gregory’s 1968 appearance at UCLA, Hoover sent a memo to Martin W. Johnson, the head of the Chicago FBI office, instructing the agent to ‘develop counterintelligence measure to neutralize’ the comedian.”
Swenson, Kyle. “J. Edgar Hoover saw Dick Gregory as a threat. So he schemed to have the Mafia ‘neutralize’ the comic.” The Washington Post, August 22, 2017. https://washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/08/22/j-edgar-hoover-saw-dick-gregory-as-a-threat-so-he-schemed-to-have-the-mafia-neutralize-the-comic/
Muhammad Ali: activist, boxer, targeted, was later diagnosed with Parkinson’s…
“…in 1971, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously reversed the heavyweight champion’s conviction for violating the United States Selective Service laws…
After declaring himself a conscientious objector to war on religious grounds as a member of the Nation of Islam in 1966, the attention Ali received from the federal government intensified.”
Martinelli, Michelle. “Inside Muhammad Ali’s FBI files.” For the Win, June 28, 2017. https://ftw.usatoday.com/2017/06/muhammad-alis-classified-fbi-files-boxing-heavyweight-champion-draft-dodging-conviction-vietnam-war
Khalid Abdul Muhammad: activist, minister, kicked out of NOI, shot, later died of brain aneurysm…
“Khalid Abdul Muhammad…died Saturday, Feb. 17.
…taken to the hospital on Tuesday after suffering a brain aneurysm and was removed from life support Thursday.
By the early 1980s, he had become one of Farrakhan’s top aides in the Nation of Islam.
…a 1993 speech at Kean College in New Jersey, Rev. Muhammad referred to Jews as ‘bloodsuckers,’ called Pope John Paul II a ‘cracker’ and urged violent uprising against whites in South Africa.
Congress quickly denounced the speech, and Farrakhan suspended him from the Nation of Islam hierarchy. In 1994, a former Nation of Islam minister attacked Rev. Muhammad after a speech in Riverside, Calif. Rev. Muhammad was shot in the leg in the attack, which also injured three other people.
In recent years, Shabazz said, Rev. Muhammad had taken to a combination of social service and activism, building the New Black Panther Party and leading programs for drug addicts, the poor and the uneducated. He lived in New York and Atlanta and spoke at lectures and rallies nationwide.”
Janega, James and Noah Isackson and Tribune Staff Writers. “KHALID ABDUL MUHAMMAD, 53, FIERY EX-AIDE FOR FARRAKHAN.” Chicago Tribune, February 18, 2011. https://chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2001-02-18-0102180453-story.html
Tupac Shakur: activist, actor, rapper, targeted in COINTELPRO-like operations, imprisoned, shot, later assassinated…
“Trouble-plagued rapper and actor Tupac Shakur is dead at the age of 25 — just about a week after sustaining 4 bullet wounds last Saturday night in Las Vegas.”
News Staff, MTV. “Rapper Tupac Shakur Gunned Down.” MTV News, September 13, 1996. http://mtv.com/news/1434032/rapper-tupac-shakur-gunned-down/
James, George. “Rapper Faces Prison Term For Sex Abuse.” The New York Times, February 8, 1995. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1995/02/08/054995.html?pageNumber=21
“Rap Artist Tupac Shakur Shot in Robbery.” The New York Times, November 30, 1994. https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1994/11/30/966169.html?pageNumber=26
Minton, Torri. “Marin City Haunted By Boy’s Shooting / Wrongful death trial about to begin.” Chronicle North Bay Bureau, November 3, 1995. https://sfgate.com/news/article/PAGE-ONE-Marin-City-Haunted-By-Boy-s-Shooting-3021515.php
Broader, John. “Quayle Calls for Pulling Rap Album Tied to Murder Case.” The Los Angeles Times. September 23, 1992. https://latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1992-09-23-mn-1144-story.html
Other strange/suspicious deaths; no direct, political motivataion; connected to music and/or entertainment.
The above was mostly a list of individuals targeted by US, government entities, at times by various levels and in coordination. Mostly as a part of COINTELPRO and McCarthyism and in the 20th century. Also, it mostly includes those who were political activists and targeted, as mentioned in the description of the list, in ways that resulted in death by assassination or instigated attack, in deportation or exile, in imprisonment as a political prisoner, that impacted their careers or any variation or combination. It does not stand as a completely comprehensive list.
Below is a short list of some targeted in relation to status in the music industry. The following is a list of individuals with unsolved deaths, deaths that were not investigated or who died under circumstances that have been drawn into question.
Eric Wright: founder and owner of Ruthless, filed RICO lawsuit against Sony for targeting artists, died under questionable circumstances after being questionably diagnosed with AIDS…
Parmenides of YouTubes. “The Gangsta Rap Prestige | The Complete and True Story of the Rise of NWA, Death Row and the Deaths of Eazy-E and Tupac Shakur. Parts 1-8.” YouTube, 2019. Contains clips, footage, excerpts and interviews from several YouTube related, news or entertainment entities including the following: djvlad; Murder Master Music Show; White Label Radio Show; Eazy-E Ruthless Records; ABC; CBS; VH1; Inside Edition; MTV; BET; LA Times; Al Profit; Jmix/JesseSurrat Productions; Sway in the Morning; AllHipHop; Truth About Tupac; 2PacLegacy.net; C-SPAN; The Real News Network; underyourskin; Biggie & Tupac (film); Welcome to Death Row (film); FBI War on 2Pac (John Potash, 2008); TheBeeShine Videos; Billboard; A&E; Info Minds; Multiple Sarcasm; Vibe; AP; PopCandiesTV; Revolt TV; ITS AGTV; Unique Access Ent. https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfTO1P2xImrPb6au3pPppvwBES81dcxZ2
Michael Jackson: singer, pop star, one of the top all time selling artists, also owned had owned rights to Beatles and certain Elvis songs, other all time top selling artists, charged and acquitted of abusing children, died under questionable circumstances…
“Michael Jackson.” Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, September 3, 2019. https://biography.com/musician/michael-jackson
Prince: artist, had contentious relationship with regard to music rights, died under questionable circumstances…
“Prince.” Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, October 22, 2019. https://biography.com/musician/prince
Sam Cooke: singer, started record label, later was shot and killed under questionable circumstances…
“Sam Cooke.” Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, July 16, 2019. https://biography.com/musician/sam-cooke
Jimi Hendrix: musician, considered one of greatest guitar players ever, died under questionable circumstances…
“Jimi Hendrix.” Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, August 2, 2019. https://biography.com/musician/jimi-hendrix
Marion Knight: head of Death Row Records during the 90s, was imprisoned with questionable decision following ‘96 death of Death Row artist Tupac Shakur, was later shot in nightclub under questionable circumstances, was giving sentence and currently in prison for case which was alleged as attempt on his life…
Markman, Rob. “SUGE KNIGHT SHOOTING: WITNESS TELLS US WHAT WENT DOWN IN 1 OAK: KNIGHT REPORTEDLY TOOK ONE BULLET TO THE ARM AND FIVE TO THE STOMACH.” MTV News, August 24, 2014. http://mtv.com/news/1909256/suge-update-shooting-eyewitness-security/
France, Lisa Respers. “Suge Knight Sentenced to 28 Years in Prison.” CNN. Cable News Network, October 8, 2018. https://cnn.com/2018/10/04/entertainment/suge-knight-sentencing/index.html
Jam Master Jay, Big L, Notorious BIG and several rappers: several rappers have been shot and cases have remain unsolved…
Xxlstaff. “The Current Status of Every Murdered Rapper’s Case – XXL.” XXL Mag, October 15, 2015. https://xxlmag.com/news/2015/10/current-status-murdered-rappers-cases/
More of individuals that may or may not have been targeted; includes more cases of individuals who (intentionally or not) had interests/actions that potentially hindered progress in the black community; more questionable deaths.
There is crossover between those used against and those targeted by the government. Not all who have (or had) potentially negative impacts did so willingly or even intentionally. Individuals have gone from activists or targets to informants and agents, and vice versa. The details of backgrounds and relationships to US, military and police intelligence is not always known due to classified or destroyed documents and government secrecy. Therefore, some individuals from the list of targets (above), could fall under this category, and vice versa.
Booker T. Washington: worked on Atlanta Compromise, arguably set back civil rights struggle; however, death was drawn into question by some…
“…Sept. 18, 1895…he delivered a clear message that the sons and daughters of former slaves should not challenge segregation.
It is unclear if Washington ever actually named the speech, but his political and academic rival, W.E.B. Du Bois called it, the “Atlanta Compromise,” believing that African-Americans should engage in a struggle for civil rights.
Washington died in [November 14] 1915.”
Suggs, Ernie. “How ‘Atlanta Compromise’ Divided Black America and Cemented Washington’s Legacy.” AJC – Atlanta. News. Now, September 19, 2017. https://ajc.com/news/local/how-atlanta-compromise-divided-black-america-and-cemented-washington-legacy/407aXK3Sv3tMuROA4PNnWJ/
Du Bois, W.E.B. “Of Mr. Booker T. Washington and Others.” The Souls of Black Folk. Oxford Press, 2007.
“The Death of Booker T. Washington.” National Park Service. US Department of Interior. Retrieved November 22, 2019. https://www.nps.gov/bowa/learn/historyculture/upload/the-final-btwdeath-site-bulletin.pdf.
Marcus Garvey: promoted black separatism and going back to Africa, which was very consistent with goals of white supremacists generally; however he was spied government, the UNIA was spied on, and he was jailed for mail fraud and later deported…
“After corresponding with Booker T. Washington, the American educator who founded Tuskegee Institute, Garvey traveled to the United States in 1916…
…1922…charged with mail fraud involving the Black Star Line. The trial records indicate several improprieties occurred in the prosecution of the case. It didn’t help that the shipping line’s books contained many accounting irregularities. On June 23, 1923, Garvey was convicted and sentenced to prison for five years. Claiming to be a victim of a politically motivated miscarriage of justice, Garvey appealed his conviction, but was denied. In 1927 he was released from prison and deported to Jamaica.”
“Marcus Garvey.” Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, June 29, 2019. https://biography.com/activist/marcus-garvey
“Marcus Garvey is, without doubt, the most dangerous enemy of the Negro race in American and in the world. He is either a lunatic or a traitor. He is sending all of the is country tons of letters and pamphlets appealing to Congressmen, business men philanthropists and educators to join him on a platform whose half concealed planks may be interpreted as follows: That no person of Negro descent can ever hope to become an American citizen; That forcible separation of the races and the banishment of Negroes to African is the only solution of the Negro problem; That race war is sure to follow any attempt to realize the program of the NAACP.”
Du Bois, W.E.B. “A LUNATIC OR A TRAITOR.” The Crisis. May, 1924. https://books.google.com/books?id=gFoEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA8#v=onepage&q&f=true
Wallace Fard Muhammad and Elijah Muhammad: part of Nation of Islam, cult-like religious organization, similar but more obscure version of separatism; NOI was targeted, Fard Muhammad has mysterious rise and disappearance; Elijah Muhammad takes over…
“…it claimed to be a religious movement, based upon Islam, it was never acceptable to the orthodox Muslim world. Although at the same time it attracted the most militant, the most dissatisfied of the Black community into it. And by them getting into it and the movement itself not having a real action program, it comprised a number of persons…
…what he said was, “We should go back to our own.” And he phrased it like that…kept it elusive…at no time did he ever enter into any kind of activity or action that was designed to bring any of this into existence.”
Transcript of Stan Bernard Interview with Malcolm X. February 18, 1965. Retrieved from http://malcolmxfiles.blogspot.com/2013/07/stan-bernard-interviews-malcolm-x.html
Also, see COINTELPRO; FBI files on both.
Noble Drew Ali: similar to Nation of Islam and Garveyism, followed as profit, has questionable circumstances surrounding death…
“In the year 1886, there was a Divine Prophet born in the state of North Carolina.
Marcus Garvey was given credit, by Prophet Noble Drew Ali, of being his forerunner. Garvey’s teachings about national issues were similar.
…1913, Prophet Noble Drew Ali founded the Canaanite Temple in Newark, New Jersey.
…The Movement spread across the country during the 1920’s as the Moorish Holy Temple of Science…Before he came to Chicago in 1925, the movement proliferated to Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, and some southern cities.
Finally by 1928, The Moorish Science Temple of America, Inc. was an established fact.”
“Moorish American History.” Retrieved from The Official Website of the Moorish Science Temple of America. Moorish Science Temple of America, Inc, November 14, 2019. http://msta1913.org/MoorishHistory.html
Also, see COINTELPRO.
Clarence 13X: founder of Five-Percent Nation, split off from NOI; strange circumstances surrounding death…
“Biography of Clarence 13X.” Five Percenter Lessons. Retrieved November, 2019. https://fivepercenterlessons.com/clarence-13x/
Also, see COINTELPRO.
Jessie Jackson: rumored involvement in assassination of King, payoffs and accepting a role as black leader (to replace individuals like King) to profit off of racial issues, while not being a true leader…
“…shows how King’s room was moved from a safe interior room, 201, to balcony room, 306, on the upper floor; how King was conveniently positioned alone on the balcony by members of his own entourage for the easy mortal head shot…implicates that Reverends Billy Kyles, Jesse Jackson, and, to a lesser extent, Ralph Abernathy were involved…
Adkins claims that his father…part of the plot to kill King…involved politicians, the FBI, MPD, and mafia, including the aforementioned produce dealer Frank Liberto and others, making payoffs with FBI money to various people, including Jesse Jackson (whom Adkins, Jr. claims was a paid FBI informer) and working closely on the details of the assassination.”
See Martin Luther King Jr.
Al Sharpton: similar to Jackson, associations with mob figures, seen to profit off racism without helping the situation…
“Sharpton’s role as an FBI informant was first disclosed in 1988 — but The Smoking Gun obtained hundreds of pages of secret court filings and FBI memos that provide stunning new details of his cooperation. The documents depict Sharpton operating easily in an underworld of violence and corruption, helping the feds collect essential information.”
Durkin, Erin. “Rev. Al Sharpton Worked as FBI Informant, Taping Conversations with Mob Pals to Help Bring down Genovese Crime Family: Report.” nydailynews.com. New York Daily News, April 8, 2014. https://nydailynews.com/new-york/rev-al-sharpton-worked-fbi-informant-80s-report-article-1.1748744
Barack Obama: was promoted as a “black” president, was not of black American descent (from US slavery), was not a of similar social or economic background…
Creamer, Matthew. “Obama Wins! … Ad Age’s Marketer of the Year.” AdAge, October 17, 2008. https://adage.com/article/moy-2008/obama-wins-ad-age-s-marketer-year/131810
Dickerson, Debra J. “Colorblind.” Salon, January 22, 2007. https://salon.com/2007/01/22/obama_161/
Kamala Harris: similar to Obama, was also used part of system of mass incarceration…
Bazelon, Lara. “Kamala Harris Was Not a ‘Progressive Prosecutor’.” The New York Times, January 17, 2019. https://nytimes.com/2019/01/17/opinion/kamala-harris-criminal-justice.html
Clarence Avant: associated with those with known links to organized crime to provide a black face for exploitation of artists…
“According to the documentary, during a time when over 70 percent of Black entertainers were directly controlled by organized crime figures, Clarence Avant was recognized for his ability to play hardball with Black talent. Avant was able to keep Black performers in line for the benefit of the White “Goodfellas” who had a stronghold on the entertainment industry. Early in his career Avant was recruited by the famed manager of Louis Armstrong, the mob connected Joe Glaser. Glaser recognized Clarence Avant’s potential skill as a kind of “Black Overseer” keeping the Black entertainers in check while extracting the highest value for their syndicate paymasters.”
Robert, Pascal. “‘The Black Godfather’: Clarence Avant and the Ruling Class Use of Black Pop Culture .” Black Agenda Report, June 12, 2019. https://blackagendareport.com/black-godfather-clarence-avant-and-ruling-class-use-black-pop-culture
Ralph Bunche, Walter Loving, William O’Neal and others used as agents or informants: Bunche worked as OSS/CIA agent, helped ignore petition for genocide to UN (see William L. Patterson); Loving worked undercover against UNIA, etc., other like O’Neal involved in COINTELPRO…
“Dr. Ralph J. Bunche: An African-American Leader in the Intelligence Community.” Central Intelligence Agency, April 30, 2013. https://cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/2010-featured-story-archive/dr.-ralph-j.-bunche.html
“Walter H. Loving, a retired Army officer and a member of the Military Intelligence Division, had dispatched black informants to UNIA meetings. Loving concluded that Garvey’s speeches could be considered seditious only during the war, which was ending. Like Scott, Loving was a black official assisting U.S. Military Intelligence in extensive surveillance of the black press.”
duCille, Michel. “BLACK MOSES, RED SCARE.” WP Company, February 12, 1997. https://washingtonpost.com/archive/1997/02/12/black-moses-red-scare/8a6aff0a-6f38-4b50-8c45-77ba7eb5d714/.
Also, see COINTELPRO.
Jay-Z, Diddy, Oprah and other black billionaires and celebrities: used in various was to create illusion of economic inclusion while maintaining status quo, excluding/blackballing others from industry, often protected…
O’Neil, Luke. “Jay-Z’s Deal with NFL Branded ‘Disgusting’ by Colin Kaepernick’s Girlfriend.” The Guardian, August 16, 2019. https://theguardian.com/sport/2019/aug/16/jay-z-takes-heat-for-business-deal-with-nfl-slammed-as-betraying-kaepernick
Zimmerman, Amy. “Diddy’s Crazy Rap Sheet: From Attacking a Record Exec to His Alleged Kettlebell Assault.” The Daily Beast, June 23, 2015. https://thedailybeast.com/diddys-crazy-rap-sheet-from-attacking-a-record-exec-to-his-alleged-kettlebell-assault
France, Lisa Respers. “Mo’Nique Files Discrimination Suit against Netflix.” CNN, November 14, 2019. https://cnn.com/2019/11/14/entertainment/monique-lawsuit-netflix-trnd/index.html
Chuba, Kirsten. “Seal Accuses Oprah of Knowing About Harvey Weinstein’s Sexual Misconduct.” Variety, January 11, 2018. https://variety.com/2018/music/news/seal-accuses-oprah-knowing-about-weinstein-misconduct-1202661226/
A Philip Randolph, Bayard Rustin, ‘Big Six’, etc.: civil rights leaders used to promote reformist change in the interests of dominate society, while others were being undermined…
Lewis, Femi. “Who Are the Six Powerful Leaders of the Civil Rights Movement?” ThoughtCo. ThoughtCo, September 5, 2019. https://thoughtco.com/men-of-the-civil-rights-movement-45371
Transcript of A Message to the Grassroots. Speech by Malcolm X. November 10, 1963. Retrieved from http://malcolmxfiles.blogspot.com/2013/06/a-message-to-grassroots-november-10-1963.html