Black Panthers and Donald Trump: The FBI’s Raiding History

Both the Black Panthers and Trump movements exposed the strength of the private sector and thus became targeted by the FBI.

It’s interesting how the FBI’s invasion1 of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home relates back to the Bureau’s history of early morning invasions of private homes.

What basis the FBI had to raid Trump’s home in Mar-a-Lago recently, only time will tell.  So far, other than talk of potential obstruction charges,2 we have yet to see details on crimes that Trump committed to justify this home invasion.

With all these circumstances in mind, the Trump raid seems to line up with patterns from our history.

A similar raid that the FBI was behind decades ago had much more devastating results.  In 1969, a group of Chicago police officers, prompted by the FBI, raided the residence3 of young Black Panther leaders, while 21-year-old Black Panther “chairman” Fred Hampton was asleep next to his eight-month-pregnant fiancée.  Police knocked down the door at 4:30 am and began firing a total of 90 shots, which resulted in the death of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark, and serious injuries suffered by four other Black Panthers.  Cook County’s state attorney Edward Hanrahan had ordered this police raid on the Black Panthers, and proceeded to lie about what happened, saying that the police were executing a search warrant for illegal weapons and were attacked by the Black Panthers.

It took years for the truth of this event to come to light, and according to History.com3: “Not only was the killing of Hampton and Clark a cold-blooded assassination of two militant Black activists, but documents later revealed it was coordinated by the FBI as part of a secret program to neutralize and destroy the Black Panther Party, which FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover privately called ‘the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.’”

Other than the narrow focus that the FBI had on these two groups, there can be another common thread seen through the movements of both Donald Trump and the Black Panthers.

The Black Panthers stood for Black Power and Power to the People.4  Likewise, Trump stated numerous times through his movement he was intent on giving power back to the people.  Trump went on to invigorate the private sector by bringing manufacturing jobs back from overseas, overhauling the corporate tax code, and aligning federal job training initiatives5 with private sector industry needs.

In an article from Capital Research Center, Ken Braun discusses how several of the core principles6 of the Black Panther’s mission aligned with values of political conservatives and libertarians.  Braun first mentions the Panther’s promotion of the Second Amendment (originally the group was known as the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense), which many conservatives support today.  Second, Braun cites the social programs the Panthers created in poor black neighborhoods, such as private schools, health clinics and free breakfast programs, which exposed the government’s limitations and parallel many conservatives’ support for faith-based social services such as food banks and substance abuse programs.

The Black Panthers weren’t without their share of issues, and the movement became increasingly dangerous in their later years.  While personality issues within the party may have played a big part in this, it’s also possible that harassment by government groups7 such as the FBI contributed to this turn for the worst that the Black Panthers took.  In 1969, the FBI declared the Black Panthers a communist organization and enemy of the United States government, and a group of antiwar activists uncovered documents8 revealing the existence of and plans behind a FBI counterintelligence program called COINTELPRO.  Their plans included orders to “disrupt, misdirect and otherwise neutralize” Black Power movements.  This program was also used to spy on and torment other black rights activists such as Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“What truly matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people,” Trump stated during his inauguration speech9 in 2017.  Just as the FBI was hellbent on dismantling the Black Panther Party (and they succeeded), they also seem determined to dismantle Trump and the MAGA movement.  Both Trump and the Black Panthers demonstrated the power of the private sector, and how there may be certain things that the power of the people can accomplish more successfully than the government.

There have been a slew of allegations of Constitutional rights being violated lately, ranging from measures taken10 during COVID-19 to the 2020 election’s laws being changed11 by judges instead of state legislatures.  It’s a prime time for people to be educated on Constitutional rights.  The Black Panthers educated people on their rights the old school way, by showing up in the neighborhood when a citizen was confronted by the police, armed with lawbooks, to observe the interaction.12 The Panthers beat everyone to the punch decades ago.

While the Black Panthers didn’t last, they made a lasting impact: they were the first to implement the free breakfast13 program concept, which the United States government has continued under their own authority after they dismantled the Black Panthers.  And if the Trump movement also falls apart, it seems to also have already made lasting impact: if it wasn’t for Trump, Roe v Wade14 would never have been overturned, since he appointed three Supreme Court justices that decided the vote.  While the Black Panthers fed the children, the Trump movement saved children’s’ lives. And if that’s not power to the people, then I don’t know what is.

Black Panthers Free Breakfast program children

References:

  1. Shapero, Julia. “Trump calls on FBI to return “privileged” documents seized at Mar-a-Lago.” Axios, 14 Aug. 2022. axios.com/2022/08/14/donald-trump-fbi-search-return-documents
  2. Porter, Tom. “Newly unsealed documents from the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago put Trump in even worse legal peril, experts say.” Business Insider, 19 Aug. 2022. yahoo.com/newly-unsealed-documents-fbi-raid-154127456.html
  3. Roos, Dave. “The 1969 Raid That Killed Black Panther Leader Fred Hampton.” A&E Television Networks, 3 Feb. 2021. history.com/news/black-panther-fred-hampton-killing
  4. Cowan, Lee. “Power to the people: The rise of the Black Panthers.” CBS News, 3 Sept. 2017. cbsnews.com/news/power-to-the-people-the-rise-of-the-black-panthers/
  5. Parke, Matt. “Trump and private sector come together for job training.” WorkingNation, 20 July 2018. workingnation.com/trump-executive-order-job-training/
  6. Braun, Ken. “The Black Panthers Promoted the Second Amendment and Private Schools.” Capital Research Center, 16 Aug. 2021. capitalresearch.org/article/the-black-panthers-promoted-the-second-amendment-and-private-schools/
  7. Meyerson, Collier. “The Black Panthers were fighting for the same rights as Black Lives Matter.” Splinter News, 26 Aug. 2015. splinternews.com/the-black-panthers-were-fighting-for-the-same-rights-as-1793850303
  8. Staff Writer. “Black History Month: The Black Panther Party.” Schoolcraft College, 25 Feb. 2022. schoolcraft.edu/2022/02/25/news/black-history-month-the-black-panther-party/
  9. Cao, Rachel. “Read President Trump’s full, blistering inaugural speech, attacking Washington, promising ‘America first’ .“ CNBC, 20 Jan. 2017. cnbc.com/2017/01/20/transcript-of-president-trumps-inauguration-speech.html
  10. Curran, John; Ding, Jeffery, et al. “COVID-19 and the Constitution: How the Bill of Rights Is Being Tested by the Coronavirus.” New York Law Journal, 29 May, 2020. law.com/newyorklawjournal/2020/05/29/covid-19-and-the-constitution-how-the-bill-of-rights-is-being-tested-by-the-coronavirus/
  11. Staff Writer. “U.S. Election 2020: Last Minute Rule Changes Responsible For Election Confusion, Chaos and Low Public Confidence in Results.” CapitalismReview, 7 Nov. 2020. capitalismreview.com/2020/11/u-s-election-2020-last-minute-rule-changes-responsible-for-election-confusion-chaos-and-low-public-confidence-in-results/
  12. Braun, Ken. “The Black Panthers Promoted the Second Amendment and Private Schools.” Capital Research Center, 16 Aug. 2021. capitalresearch.org/article/the-black-panthers-promoted-the-second-amendment-and-private-schools/
  13. Blakemore, Erin. “How the Black Panthers’ Breakfast Program Both Inspired and Threatened the Government.” A&E Television Networks, 29 Jan. 2021. history.com/news/free-school-breakfast-black-panther-party
  14. Shoebat, Walid. “Donald Trump Is The Reason Why Roe V. Wade Got Overturned.” Shoebat.com, 24 June 2022. shoebat.com/2022/06/24/donald-trump-is-the-reason-why-roe-v-wade-got-overturned/

One response to “Black Panthers and Donald Trump: The FBI’s Raiding History”

  1. […] That did not happen. Lincoln was murdered. The Jim Crow was born. And prison has been a way to keep Black families out of the American dream. Let’s look at the plantations, we mean, states, that still used […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: