Fbi Paranoia: The Fbi's War Against Core & Sncc, 1956-1971
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentHistory and Geography
ProgramMaster of Arts
RightsThis item is made available by Morgan State University for personal, educational, and research purposes in accordance with Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Other uses may require permission from the copyright owner.
SubjectsAfrican American studies
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (U.S.)
United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation
The purpose of this research is to illustrate the potency, organization, and tactics of the FBI's counterintelligence program, CointelPro, a program created to thwart charismatic Black leaders involved in the civil rights movement. CointelPro, in existence from 1956 to 1971, was created to neutralize political dissidents and political groups that were seen as radical and a threat to the American way of life. The directives governing CointelPro were issued by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who ordered FBI agents to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize" the activities of these movements and their leaders. Specifically, this research is a case study of the CointelPro operations against the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). This study is based on sources obtained from the FBI through the Freedom of Information Act. I will argue, employing an analytic framework derived from David Cunningham and Charles E. Jones, that local government agents systematically repressed alleged threats. I will also illustrate how Black civil rights leaders in CORE and SNCC, especially those considered charismatic, were ineffective against their own destruction due to, in part, the subversive and illegal tactics of the CointelPro program.