8 Ways the FBI Tried to Change the Course of Black History by Influencing Black Writers, Thinkers and Freedom Fighters - by Nick Chiles
Being Black Was Enough to Warrant Surveillance
"African-Americans were Hoover’s largest targeted group. They didn’t have to be perceived as having liberal, or even radical or subversive, ideas to merit being spied on. Nor was it necessary for them to engage in violent behavior to become a watched person. Being Black was enough, according to The Nation. The FBI required field offices to watch thousands of African-Americans wherever they went — in churches, in classrooms, on college campuses, in bars, in restaurants, in bookstores, in their places of employment, in stores, in any social setting, in their neighborhoods and even at the front doors of their homes. Probably few of them realized that the bill collector at their door might be an FBI informer. In fact, every agent had to have at least one informer who reported to him regularly on the activities of Black people. In Washington, D.C., every agent was required to assign six informers to spy on Black people. Even in a community where no Black people lived, agents were required to submit a special memorandum to get permission to be exempt from the requirement."
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