During the Civil Rights Movement, there were several different hypotheses about the correct way from African Americans to earn gain civil equality with Caucasians. Each hypothesis, therefore, had their own separate following, their own leaders, and their own method of getting their point across. Whether one was involved in SNC C, the nonviolent movement, the Nation of Islam, or the Black Panthers, the main goal of equality and humane treatment was at the forefront. Many groups started to make major waves in the social structure that stabilized America for so long. Rebellions and major city destruction brought out the worst in both blacks and whites. The peaceful era of Ike Eisenhower playing golf and Leave it to Beaver was over.
There was a revolution on the rise. Unfortunately, like in any other revolution, there is always an effort from the ruling class to purge the agitators from the system which they put into place. In the case of the Civil Rights Movement, the FBI, along with the police force, was the cleansing agent in America, seeking to eradicate any opposition to their way of life. Through COINTELPRO, the Counter Intelligence Program, the FBI sought to destroy any momentum that a civil rights group had. Its goals were to kill off any messianic leaded of any group that was getting too close to changing the status quo. The FBI's program seems like a blatant breech of the Constitution.
Killing someone because their beliefs are different is inherently wrong according to the documents that the police force and the court system are supposed to uphold. The thing is that the FBI would not just storm into a room in their FBI uniforms and assassinate leaders. They would be dressed in plain clothes, sometimes use informants, and also have periodic raids on certain organizations without due cause. Another reason why the FBI was never convincingly linked to killings at the time is because there are no witnesses. When King was assassinated and the police arrested James Earl Ray, there was no proof that Ray was connected to the FBI.
When Malcolm was assassinated, no one knew who killed him, but it was very timely that the FBI was becoming fed up with Malcolm around the same time period that he died. Although there was no concrete proof that the FBI was linked in the killings, blacks suspected them from the beginning. Malcolm X, right before he died, had started to change his views on whether or not blacks and whites could get along. After his trip to Mecca and seeing white Muslims worshiping with black Muslims, he seemed to have realized that whites and blacks can actually get along. He returned to the States with the intent of sharing his new revelation and also going international with his beliefs and seeking outside support. He was killed before he could get his ideas across to the general public.
Malcolm X was a huge threat to the white establishments. He was not a King, who sought for peaceful change. His rhetoric was anti-white and he demonized whites to the point where they felt threatened. His points on how whites had exploited the world from the past until his time were too succinct and exact.
He was very well educated and he had the ability to pass on his knowledge to the masses. His strong presence and following were a threat to the FBI, so they had to eliminate him. Malcolm X was not the only recipient of COINTELPRO's aggression. Fred Hampton, one of the young leaders of the Black Panther Party, was also a very intelligent black man.
He was only twenty years old, but he was filled with knowledge. He made very good points on the nature of man to mimic its oppressors in violence, but only after all other options are worn out. He also compared this movement for equality to the French Revolution. He said that the struggle was a class struggle, just like in all other countries.
Class and power were the main power tools of whites in America, and when that didn't work, violence was the next action. Hampton gained a large following and only at the age of twenty. However, no matter how young, he was seen as a major threat to the white power structure. Through using black FBI informants and recorded phone conversations, the FBI was able to know the whereabouts of the leaders of the movement. The police approached the house at night and sprayed ninety one shots into the apartment in an attempt to kill all those who lived inside. Fred Hampton was found dead in his bed.
The police chief testified that there was gunfire coming from inside. However, when the evidence was collected, all of the shells that were fund were form police weapons. After looking at the walls where the bullets came in, the examiners determined that maybe one bullet came from inside the house. The assassination attempt had worked. A young upcoming leader of the BPP was murdered before he could use a tenth of his potential. Who could these groups turn to for help? The FBI had men in the KKK and also had informants in the civil rights groups.
There was no safe haven for these groups for radical change. These groups soon disbanded with their leaders killed and their hopes discarded. At every turn there was another mechanism or deterrent in their progress. Civil Rights legislature was passed, but legislature does not necessitate the death of great leaders.