While the assassination of Fred Hampton took place five decades ago, new revelations about the FBI’s role in Hampton’s death are still emerging. Researchers Aaron Leonard and Conor Gallagher have been key to these developments. In their quest to document the history of FBI repression of dissent, they obtained startling new information from the National Archives and Record Administration about the FBI’s campaign against the charismatic Black Panther organizer.
Defending Rights & Dissent was joined by Leonard and Gallagher on Thursday, April 22 to discuss what they’ve learned about the Hampton assassination, COINTELPRO and the FBI’s targeting of the Black Panther Party, and why it matters.
Aaron J. Leonard is a writer and historian with a particular focus on the history of radicalism and state suppression. He is the coauthor of Heavy Radicals: The FBI’s Secret War on America’s Maoists and A Threat of the First Magnitude—FBI Counterintelligence & Infiltration: From the Communist Party to the Revolutionary Union. His current book, The Folk Singers & the Bureau, published in September 2020.
Conor A. Gallagher is a researcher and educator from Brooklyn, New York. He coauthored the books Heavy Radicals: The FBI’s Secret War on America’s Maoists and A Threat of the First Magnitude—FBI Counterintelligence & Infiltration: From the Communist Party to the Revolutionary Union with Aaron Leonard.
Chip Gibbons (Moderator) is policy director of Defending Rights & Dissent. He hosted the Still Spying podcast, which explored the history of FBI political surveillance. He is currently working on a book on the history of the FBI exploring the relationship between domestic political surveillance and the emergence of the US national security state.