Eyes on the Prize: A Nation of Law? | African Elements: Black Studies
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Eyes on the Prize: A Nation of Law?

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Eyes on the Prize: A Nation of Law?

In 1969, the F.B.I. names the Black Panther Party the number one threat to the nation’s internal security. Some law enforcement officials feel this gives them justification to break the law and destroy the organization. In December, Panthers’ leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark are killed in a pre-dawn raid in Chicago by police acting on information supplied by an FBI informant. The seven surviving Panthers are charged with assault and attempted murder. Though the police insist they shot in self-defense, a controversy grows when activists present evidence that the sleeping Panthers put up no resistance. The police are never tried yet the charges against the Panthers are dropped; the families of the dead win a $1.8 million settlement from the government. The extent of the FBI’s counterintelligence program, COINTELPRO, will be uncovered by activists in 1971.
 

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