University of California’s Vast Archive of FBI Files on Black Civil Rights Leaders

In 2020 the University of California Berkeley Library acquired a digital database of FBI records on the surveillance of African Americans throughout the 20th century, expanding the trove of federal records the Library has assembled over the years. The library is working to make it easier for researchers to access these files.

In 1967, the FBI quietly unleashed a covert surveillance operation targeting “subversive” civil rights groups and Black leaders. The objective, according to an FBI memo was to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize” the radical fight for Black rights — and Black power.

The new collection, acquired from Gale, an educational publisher and online database, contains surveillance files of many important Black figures and organizations of the day — including Thurgood Marshall, Marcus Garvey, the NAACP, and many others. Additional records, including Hoover’s confidential documents and FBI files on Martin Luther King Jr. and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, or SNCC, are also available through the Library via ProQuest, the massive online repository.

“These documents reveal and confirm the kind of root investment in anti-Blackness and quelling dissent that has long been part of our government structure,” says Leigh Raiford, a professor of African American studies at the University of California, Berkeley. “I’m hoping that a new generation of researchers will learn new lessons for how to outmaneuver these attempts.”

 

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Tuskegee University Flight School Receives $6.7 Million in Federal Funding

With a $6.7 million investment from the federal government, Tuskegee University will launch a new bachelor's degree in aviation science. The program will teach students about aviation science and technology and provide them with flight school training.

Three African Americans Appointed to University Faculty Positions

The faculty appointments are Dexter Blackman at Morgan State University in Baltimore, Stephanie Henderson at Alcorn State University in Mississippi, and Yolanda Pierce at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Virginia State University Approved to Launch Master’s Degree in Data Analytics

The master's degree in data analytics will prepare students to use data to make strategic technology and business decisions. The new degree program will be the 14th established master's degree at Virginia State University.

Samuel Frimpong Honored for Outstanding Contributions to Mineral Industry Education

Dr. Frimpong was honored by the Society of Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration with the 2024 Mineral Industry Education Award. He currently serves as a professor of mineral engineering, the Robert H. Quenon Endowed Chair, and vice provost for graduate education at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Featured Jobs