(GEORGE CURRY MEDIA)—Have you ever wondered what happened to Black Power? Remember the days of the clinched fist, the afro, the dashiki, and black berets? Remember Stokely Carmichael, Angela Davis, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, Eldridge Cleaver, H. Rap Brown, and the Black Panthers? How about Shaft and Foxy Brown? Black was beautiful and “powerful” back then, right? If you were around in those days, and even if you were not, you will also recall J. Edgar Hoover’s Counter Intelligence Program, otherwise known as COINTELPRO. It kept watch on MLK, Malcolm, and any Black person who stood up and spoke out against injustice and had the temerity to actually fight for Black Power. Those were the days, right? Wrong. Ask Tommie Smith and John Carlos.
Years before Hoover began his COINTELPRO tactics against those mentioned above, he set up a scheme to destroy the man many believe to be the progenitor of real Black Power: Marcus Mosiah Garvey. Hoover called Garvey a “notorious negro agitator,” and did everything he could to dig up dirt on him. Historian, Theodore Kornweibel, said, “Hoover and the Justice Department were clearly hooked on a fixation on Garvey which would before long become a vendetta.”
Hoover had relied on part-time Black informants to track Garvey’s movements and U.N.I.A. activities. Ironically, in December 1919, his determination to go after Garvey led Hoover to hire the first Black agent in the Bureau’s history, James Wormley Jones. “His job,” says Kornweibel, “was to go into Harlem and infiltrate the Garvey movement and find evidence that could be used to build the legal case for ultimately getting rid of Garvey.” We know what happened to Garvey when Hoover and his gang found that Garvey would not buckle and was not about to sell his people out.