Stories from Hartford's Grassroots
The secret files on the Black Panthers in Hartford (1969-1972) reveal the extent of the FBI’s collusion with SNETCo and area TV and radio stations. On the right is a small portion of the phone calls from the Hartford Panther’s office to the FBI. On the left is the partial transcript that WDRC provided to the agency from a Panther interview. Channel 30 also provided video footage of Panther rallies. United Airlines at Bradley Airport informed the Feds about the airline flights and destinations of specific Panthers.
On the left is a floor plan of the Hartford Panthers’ headquarters. On the right is a photo from August 1, 1970 of a Hartford Police raid on their Barbour Street office. On December 4, 1969, the Chicago Police used similar techniques to raid the BPP residence, killing Fred Hampton and Mark Clark in the process (Hampton was most likely still asleep, drugged by a police informant).
Wen the FBI transcribed a Panther speech, they would leave out the swear words. Then, they would place those words, listed as “Obscene” in an appendix page. We can only assume that these protocol allowed Director Hoover the embarrassment of reading the expletives.
The Panthers had many supporters, as well as those who might want to use their Panther relationship for private gain. Any time a donation from a public figure was given to the BPP, and all the local stores that donated to the Free Breakfast Program were all recorded by the FBI. Read the document on the left and see if you can spot the Hartford Mayor (!) who donated money to the Hartford Panthers.
“Each of the five links below points to about 300+ pages of the entire set. NARA [National Archives] states that these links are permanent, and that the files also will become available through their regular search tool in about 15 days. Since these are large files (about 35MB each), I recommend downloading them to your computer and viewing with a PDF application (such as Acrobat Reader, or Preview for Mac) rather than attempting to read online. Please share this secret chapter of Connecticut’s history widely with others, and feel free to comment below and insert links to your own writing about these files. Many thanks to the National Archives staff for making this material freely available online.”
If you find more documents worth posting, let me know.