FBI wages war on the African Liberation Movement, from Garvey to Uhuru

Editor’s Note: This timeline presents a partial list of Africans targeted by the FBI. It does not cover the full extent of counterinsurgent terror and surveillance against African people, which includes AFRICOM, the CIA, etc. The colonial powers assassinated African freedom fighters: Kwame Nkrumah, Thomas Sankara, Patrice Lumumba and more.

1920-1960s

Marcus Garvey – The U.S. Bureau of Investigation (later called the FBI) hired its first black agent in 1919 to infiltrate Garvey’s UNIA, framing him, jailing him, exiling him back to Jamaica and destroying his movement.

Angelo Herndon, labor organizer in Atlanta, beaten by police, jailed for communist insurrection in 1932, later overturned.

Jackie Robinson – The FBI monitored the baseball great throughout his career in the ’40s and ’50s, increasing surveillance when he became active with the Civil Rights and Labor movements in the 1960s.

Queen Mother Audley Moore was a leader in Garvey’s UNIA, was in and out of jail for organizing workers in New York City and fought against evictions and for black tenant rights. Best known for her 30 years work for black reparations, Moore’s FBI file contains documents from 1941 to 1975.

The Nation of Islam has been under assault by the FBI since at least 1941, subjected to raids, arrests, frameups, imprisonment and “false flag operations”. During COINTELPRO, the NOI was included on the FBI’s list of “black nationalist hate groups.”

Paul Robeson. World-renowned baritone artist, actor, pro football player and activist for black liberation and against military conscription for black people. Helped bring the “We Charge Genocide” petition at the United Nations which the colonial State blamed on Russian interference. Interogated by the House Un-American Activities Committee, FBI has extensive file on Robeson. 1941 – 1960s.

Eslanda Robeson – wife of Paul Robeson, and was also a target by the House of Un-American Activities— accused of being a communist. 1941 – 1960s.

Louise Thompson Patterson was watched by the FBI because of her high-ranking position in the International Worker’s Order, 1950s.

Shirley Graham Du Bois – surveilled by the FBI for her tireless work in organizing and was also watched by the House of Un-American Committee (HUAC). 1950 – 1975.

Beah Richards / Beulah Richardson, actress and Sojourners for Truth and Justice Member, tracked by FBI, 1951 – 1972.

Groundbreaking singer, actor and civil rights activist Josephine Baker – FBI kept a file on Baker for associating with known/suspected communists from at least 1951 – 1966.

W.E.B. Du Bois, co-founder of the NAACP, scholar and peace activist was under surveillance by U.S. intelligence until he was assassinated in 1965. throughout his career. His Peace Information Center was charged by the feds in 1951 with acting as an agent of a foreign state, being a suspected Soviet agent, charges later dismissed.

William Patterson presented the “We Charge Genocide” petition on behalf of the Civil Right Congress to the United Nations in 1951 in Paris. On his return to the U.S., his passport was seized. In 1959 he was brought before the House Committee on Un-American Activities for interrogation.

Claudia Jones, Jamaican-born journalist and activist, was arrested, imprisoned and deported by the US government under the Smith Act—an act that made it illegal to advocate or be a member of an organization that advocated the violent overthrow of the United States government. June 1951.

Malcolm X was followed, surveilled and harrassed by the FBI from 1953

Charlotta Bass, newspaper publisher, educator and activist, was labeled a communist and kept under surveillance by the FBI for decades, into her 90s. She was interrogated over claims that her paper was funded by Japan and Germany.

Martin Luther King Jr. was surveilled by the FBI under the COINTELPRO operation between 1958 to 1968. He was sent threatening and blackmailing letters, slandered and ultimately assassinated.

Pulitzer prize-winning author and activist James Baldwin’s 1,884-page FBI file, covered the period from 1958 to 1974.

Miriam Makeba, world-renowned singer from South Africa and antiapartheid activist, tracked by the FBI from the 1960s as seen in a 298- page file on her.

Over 100 organizers and entertainers in Los Angeles were tracked by local and federal agencies in the 1960s.

Ella Baker was a civil and human rights organizer and activist, leader of SNCC who was a target of the FBI in the 1960s.

1960s-2022

Robert F. Williams, President of the Monroe, North Carolina NAACP, advocated black armed self-defense, framed by the FBI, fled to Cuba in 1961.

Hugh Maskela, world-famous musician exiled to the U.S. from South Africa in 1961 for anti-apartheid activism after the Sharpesville Massacre, put on FBI watch-list for campaigning alongside Harry Belafonte.

James Forman, Civil Rights and Black Power leader whose “Black Manifesto” demanded white churches pay half a billion dollars to blacks as reparations. Pursued for many years by the FBI beginning in 1961.

SNCC leader Fannie Lou Hamer came under FBI surveillance from 1963, then led the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegation that was denied voting seats by Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey.

Muhammad Ahmad, aka Max Stanford, founder of the Revolutionary Action Movement, arrested and tracked by the FBI from 1964 throughout the 1960s.

Huey P. Newton was hounded by the FBI after his founding of the Black Panther Party in 1966 til his assassination in 1989.

Black Panther Party. From its founding in 1966, the Panthers bore the brunt of the FBI’s COINTELPRO (Counter-Intelligence Program). Across the U.S., Panthers were assassinated by police, harrassed, imprisoned, with offices and do-for-self communituy programs raided and destroyed.

Chairman Fred Hampton, 21-year-old leader of the Chicago Black Panther Party, assassinated by the FBI along with Mark Clark in pre-dawn raid in on December 4,1969.

Aretha Franklin, the “Queen of Soul” was tracked by the FBI for 40 years from 1967 – 2007, monitoring her connections to the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements.

Musician Jimi Hendrix, tracked and harrassed by the FBI from 1969 til his death in 1970.

Darren Seals, young African man in St. Louis, led Ferguson demonstrations after the 2014 murder of Mike Brown; FBI compiled a 900 page file on him; Darren was murdered by the State in 2016.

African People’s Socialist Party and Uhuru Movement offices and homes raided by FBI pre-dawn on July 29th, 2022 in St. Louis, MO and St. Petersburg, FL. APSP Chairman Omali Yeshitela, APSP AgitProp Director Akilé Anai, APSC Chairwoman Penny Hess and USM Chair Jesse Nevel named as “unindicted co-conspirators”, accused of serving as pawns of Russia.

And many more notable Africans targeted by the FBI, including:

  • Kwame Ture (Stokely Carmichael)
  • Esther Cooper Jackson (STJ)
  • Cyril Briggs Marian Anderson (singer)
  • Betty Shabazz
  • Medgar Evers
  • James Farmer
  • Roy Wilkins
  • Thurgood Marshall
  • Benjamin Hooks
  • Bayard Rustin
  • Coretta Scott King
  • Frank Alexander (Civil Rights Congress)
  • Marvin Gaye
  • Sam Cooke
  • Nina Simone
  • Franklin Alexander (WEB Du Bois Clubs)
  • Whitney Houston
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