Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) introduced legislation that would rename the Hoover FBI building, the Federal Bureau of Investigation Building.
Success of Fred Hampton Film Renews Call to Rename J. Edgar Hoover FBI Building
The year 2020 will always go down as definitive time in race relations in America.
After the death of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter movement began to call for the removal of Confederate statues, and an end to police brutality.
Now, thanks to the movie “Judas and the Black Messiah,” a movement has started to rename the FBI building in Washington, D.C. named after controversial director, J. Edgar Hoover.
TheGrio.com reported, “In 2020, Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen introduced bill H.R. 7829 that would officially rename the building to the ‘Federal Bureau of Investigation Building.’ Additionally, Virginia Congressman Gerry Connolly introduced H.R. 7865 that would establish the National Commission on Renaming the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Headquarters Building Act.
“Now in 2021, there is a renewed call to take former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s name off of the FBI building. Hoover’s name was placed there in 1972 months after his death.”
The award-winning film “Judas and the Black Messiah” depicted the rise in popularity of former Illinois Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton, and the FBI’s collaboration with the Chicago Police Department that resulted in Hampton’s assassination.
As a result of a relationship with an African-American informant into the Black Panther Party, the FBI infiltrated the Panthers.
The informant gave the FBI a blueprint of Hampton’s apartment and when law enforcement officials raided Hampton’s apartment, they fired approximately 100 shots into the home while he slept.
The Panthers only shot back once even though law enforcement and media members labeled the incident a shootout.
Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) said that the controversial Hoover oversaw the “state-sanctioned assassination of an American citizen” in reference to the charismatic Hampton who had begun unifying disgruntled Blacks, Whites and Hispanics in a fight against the American power structure.
To many members of the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Liberation movement, Hoover represented public enemy number one.
And to Hoover, Black leaders probably also represented public enemy number one because they definitely posed a threat to the White power structure in America.
As a result, Hoover and the FBI launched an offensive against Black leaders, which resulted in the dismantling of several powerful Black organizations and the assassination of several Black freedom fighters.
Under Hoover’s efforts (encouraged by the Kennedy administration), wiretaps of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. got leaked to the press and his wife, Coretta Scott King.
A counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) began to sow discord amongst militant Black groups like the Black Panther Party.
As depicted in the film “Judas and the Black Messiah” starring 2021 Golden Globes winner Daniel Kaluuya, the FBI would create false literature disparaging various Black militant groups and claim a rival group was responsible for the content.
This fake literature would create friction between groups, which sometimes resulted in violence.
According to NPR.org, “COINTELPRO involved not only wiretapping, but as the investigation showed, attempts to disrupt, discredit, and defame perceived political radicals. Hoover tried few figures as relentlessly as Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. The charge, Communist influence in the civil rights movement.”
Furthermore, the FBI and New York Police Department (NYPD) collaborated in the assassination of former Nation of Islam Minister Malcolm X.
Additionally, a Memphis, Tenn. jury found the federal government of the United States guilty of conspiring to assassinate King.
Hoover did not limit his surveillance to Black people.
He had a notorious relationship with former President John F. Kennedy and his brother former Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and did not want the public to believe that Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President Kennedy as a part of a large conspiracy.
The fact that Hoover did not want people thinking a conspiratorial effort killed Kennedy has made many believe that Oswald did not act alone.
Therefore, the movement to rename the FBI building does not have a shortage of supporters.
Even celebrities like Golden Globes winner Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”) have spoken out against Hoover.
During an interview with Van Lathan, the conversation turned towards Hoover and his relentless assaults against Black Americans in the 20th century.
“There’s a through-line between all these stories of destabilization of movements, and that through-line is J. Edgar Hoover,” Lathan said. “Whether or not we’re talking about ‘Judas and the Black Messiah,’ whether we’re talking about the ‘The United States vs. Billie Holiday,’ whether we’re talking about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, all of this stuff.
“I said earlier on a podcast that I thought J. Edgar Hoover’s name should be taken off of the federal building in Washington because he, to me, is a cultural war criminal. After [Billie Holiday] and getting into how this was, what do you think about a movement to take J. Edgar Hoover’s name off the federal building?”
Day replied, “I 100 percent support that. To me, when you say you want to build a monument or we have a statue or we have his name on the capital building, it’s the same as saying, ‘Oh, well we have Hitler’s name up there.’ Why would we do that?”
Day added, “It was just the brilliance of subtlety. Just how diabolically genius it was in being so subtle in dismantling our community and everything he hated. So yes, I think he is the Hitler for Black people, and for people of color and for marginalized communities in America. He’s responsible for so many deaths and I don’t think people really understand the scope of one man’s power when he’s alive.
“He’s been able to successfully cement himself in this nation as a hero and a pillar of righteousness and civic duty. And the man was a demon. One of my biggest passions is to tell the truth about his legacy.”