Racial Matters: The FBI's Secret File on Black America, 1960-1972

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9780029236826: Racial Matters: The FBI's Secret File on Black America, 1960-1972
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From Kennedy to Nixon, the FBI unwillingly found itself at the center of the struggle for racial equality and justice. Kenneth O'Reilly tells the shocking story of how political loyalties, priorities, and prejudices turned a government agency into an adversary, instead of a protector, of civil rights.

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From Publishers Weekly:

In thousands of civil rights skirmishes, FBI agents stood by passively as protesters were beaten by Ku Klux Klansmen and segregationists. In this searing expose, O'Reilly ( Hoover and the Un-Americans ) argues persuasively that FBI director J. Edgar Hoover's campaign to destroy the civil rights movement made headway because the Kennedy and Johnson administrations tolerated it. With information from declassified FBI files and other documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, O'Reilly, who teaches at the University of Alaska, demonstrates that the FBI deployed an army of some 7000 "ghetto informants" to spy on black political groups. A zealous FBI campaign helped destroy the Black Panther party; electronic surveillance, break-ins and mail-openings extended to black student groups. Among the 1191 names on the FBI's "Agitator Index" was that of Jesse Jackson, who was subjected to wiretaps and other forms of surveillance. Under Nixon, FBI programs directed against blacks continued, according to O'Reilly. This important book complements Herbert Mitgang's Dangerous Dossiers.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

This book is essential reading for every American concerned not simply for the vision of a just and equal society, but also about the way the nation's central law enforcement agency, the FBI, set its energy and organizational commitments against the civil rights movement. Driven by his own racism, J. Edgar Hoover turns out, in O'Reilly's account, to be as central a figure in the opposition to the movement as any Klansman. From his earliest days in the Bureau through the events of 1963 and 1964 and after, Hoover waged covert war not simply against Martin Luther King Jr. but all black activists. The book is a powerful, necessary corrective not only to the recent film Mississippi Burning but to a generation and more of myth-making about Hoover and his (white) G-men. It is an important addition to civil rights literature.
- Henry Steck, SUNY Coll. at Cortland
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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