State and Federal responses

Response to Malcolm X

Malcolm X was viewed as a real threat to stability in the USA because the government was afraid that as his popularity increased and the Nation of Islam grew, the likelihood of violence and disorder would escalate.

The riots in the Watts District of Los Angeles heightened the government’s fears that he could incite similar riots in cities across America.

Due to these fears the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tracked Malcolm X’s movements.

His telephone conversations were recorded and he was followed on his overseas trips to Africa and the Middle East.

The FBI compiled over seventy reports on Malcolm X during the time they had him under surveillance.

Response to Stokely Carmichael

Stokely Carmichael had been known to the authorities since he joined the SNCC in 1961.

As he became more outspoken and his views more radical, he attracted the attention of the FBI.

The federal government was further alarmed, when in 1967, he went on a trip to visit revolutionary leaders in Cuba, North Vietnam, China and Guinea.

After joining the Black Panthers, Carmichael settled in Washington DC and from this time onwards, he was under nearly constant surveillance by the FBI.

The assassination of Martin Luther King sparked riots across the USA, J Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI, instructed a team of agents to find evidence connecting Carmichael to the rioting in Washington DC.

When Carmichael denounced the USA’s involvement in the Vietnam War, his passport was confiscated and held for ten months.