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COINTELPRO Cartoon, Ron Karenga, "Things to do today"
Maker: Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Date Made: 1969 original
Place Made: United States
Measurements: 32 cm x 39 cm; 12 5/8 in x 15 3/8 in
Main Subject: Black Panther Party; African Americans; Viet Nam War Era
Materials: paper (fiber product)
Things to do Today: John Huggins Bunchie Carter Bobby Seale Walter Wallace Karenga US All Information Contained Therein Unclassified Date
Acquisition Number: 1991-048
On January 17, 1969, Los Angeles Panther Captain Bunchy Carter and Deputy Minister John Huggins were killed in Campbell Hall on the UCLA campus, in a gun battle with members of Us Organization headed by Ron Karenga stemming from a dispute over who would control UCLA's Black Studies program. This cartoon was mailed out in February 1969.
COINTELPRO: Domestic Counter Intelligence Programs (COINTELPROs) were covert operations designed to infiltrate, destabilize, and destroy organizations that law enforcement and government officials considered threats to national security. During the 1960s and 70s, COINTELPRO operations were directed against the Civil Rights movement, Black Panther Party, American Indian Movement, Chicano movement, anti-Viet Nam war organizations, and their leaders. Its purpose was to cause internal dissent and conflicts with other organizations. The special COINTELPRO “Black Propaganda” division created publications to give organizations a bad public image and published cartoons and letters to promote conflicts between groups. These efforts accompanied COINTELPRO activities of infiltrating informers, spreading false rumors, fabricating evidence, and police assaults. In August 1967, the FBI launched a COINTELPRO operation against the Black Panther Party. COINTELPRO was responsible for the death of Panther Fred Hampton, and it exacerbated the conflict between the Panthers and US— a Los Angeles-based organization founded and led by Ron Karenga. The US organization had frequent confrontations with the Black Panther Party due to differing ideologies: members of US were cultural nationalists, focusing on racial oppression, while the Panthers were revolutionary internationalists, focusing on struggle against economic class oppression. Tensions escalated in late 1968 on the UCLA campus as the two groups struggled for control of the Black Student Union. On January 17, 1969, US members murdered Panthers John Huggins and Bunchy Carter. In 1971, three US members were convicted of the killings, although the actual gunmen remained at large. Many Panthers believe the FBI used Ron Karenga and US as part of their COINTELPRO operations against the Black Panther Party. *See complete annotation in Note Pad.