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African American Studies: FBI Files

Microform Services

 Printed guides to accompany microfilm are housed in Microform Services on A-floor in Firestone Library.


Centers of the Southern Struggle: FBI Files on Selma, Memphis, Montgomery, Albany, and St. Augustine

ReCap Microfilm 11926             Printed guide (FilmB) E185.61.C46 1988          21 reels

“Centers of the Southern Struggle makes available for the first time FBI headquarters files on five of the most pivotal arenas of the civil rights struggle of the 1960s: Selma, Memphis, Montgomery, St. Augustine, and Albany.  These files provide a day-by-day, and frequently an hour-by-hour, record of the activities, strategies, and alliances of the civil rights movement. They are also noteworthy both for the light they shed on such national figures and groups as Martin Luther King Jr., the SCLC, SNCC, CORE, and the NAACP, and for the raw data and analyses they supply on the many grassroots movements for racial equality that grew during the 1960s.”


COINTELPRO: The Counterintelligence Program of the FBI

ReCap MICROFILM 05649          Printed guide: none                           30 reels

Communist Party of the USA--Hoodwink (reels 1-17)--New left, Socialists Workers Party (reels 18-21)--Black nationalist hate groups(reels 22-25)--Special operations file,Espionage file (reel 26)--Nationalist groups (reel 27)--White hate groups (reels 28-30)


Communist infiltration of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and J. Edgar Hoover’s Official Confidential File on Martin Luther King, Jr.

ReCapMicrofilm 05440                     Printed guide: none                    9 reels


FBI File on A. Philip Randolph

ReCap Microfilm 07313                  Printed guide (FilmB) E185.97.R36 F34     1 reel

“A. Philip Randolph (1889-1979), an outspoken black labor leader, is perhaps best remembered as the organizer of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. He was elected a vice president of the AFL-CIO in 1955. The FBI’s first interest in Randolph came in 1922 at his request: he had received a death threat in the mail which included a severed black hand. This file includes memos and correspondence, most dating from the 1940s with some coverage into the early 1960s.”


FBI File on Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. 

ReCap Microfilm 10705    Online guide      Printed guide (FilmB) E748.P86 F34          8 reels

“The FBI file covers the years 1940 to the 1960’s and contains newspaper clippings and close accounts of Adam Clayton Powell’s movements.”  


FBI File on Black Extremist Organizations

ReCap Microfilm 12456         Printed guide (FilmB) E185.615 .F534 2005                       8 reels

Cointelpro files on black hate groups and investigation of the Deacons for Defense and Justice.


FBI File on Elijah Muhammad 

ReCap Microfilm 10593      Online guide          Printed guide (FilmB) BP223.Z8 E4532      3 reels

“These FBI files provide background into the life of Elijah Muhammad and follow his activities and teachings as the spiritual leader of the Nation of Islam from 1953 until his death in 1975.”


FBI File, Highlander Folk School 

ReCap Microfilm 09608                  Printed Guide (FilmB) LC5301.M65 F34     1 reel


FBI File on John L. Lewis 

ReCap Microfilm 11817                  Printed guide (FilmB) HD6509.L4 F24         2 reels


FBI File on Malcolm X 

ReCAp Microfilm 10595     Online guide      Printed guide (FilmB) BP223.Z8 L574          10 reels

“The documents reproduced here were drawn from the Washington files of the FBI and have been released under the Freedom of Information Act.”  In addition to numerous newspaper articles, published interviews, and transcripts, there is a transcript of the Mike Wallace TV program News Beat, segment entitled: The Hate that Hate Produced.”.

    See also:

 Transcripts of the Malcolm X Assassination Trial: the People of New York v. Thomas Hagan, Thomas 15X Johnson, and Norman 3X Butler

ReCap Microfilm 09179                 Printed guide (FilmB) KF224.H3 H342 1993                     1 reel

“Transcripts of the 1966 Malcolm X assassination trial include the full testimony for all withnesses of the defense and prosecution, and affidavits containing the original handwritten confession of Thomas Hagan [also known as Talmadge Hayer], the only actual assassin who was convicted of the crime.”


FBI File on Martin Luther King, Jr.

ReCap Microfilm 05368                  Printed guide (FilmB) E185.97.K5 L47          25 reels

Part I of The Martin Luther King, Jr. FBI File; Part II: The King-Levison File

“The FBI’s declassified documents that are contained in the two parts of The Martin Luther King, Jr. FBI File allow the reader to follow the development of King’s own career and civil rights activities in a way never before possible. Taken as a whole, this publication makes available to researchers in history, political science, sociology, and law a crucially important documentary record on one of the central leaders and one of the central issues of our time.”  There are also verbatim transcripts of conversations between King and one of his most trusted confidants, Stanley Levison.        

See also: Internet Archive: Complete FBI File on Martin Luther King, Jr. and

Stanley Levison: Federal Bureau of Investigation.  This FBI file consists of security investigations of Stanley Levison from the 1950’s through the early 1970’s. Levison was a key advisor to Martin Luther King, Jr.


Martin Luther King, Jr. FBI Assassination File

Recap Microfilm 04449                  Printed guide: none                                 25 reels


FBI File, MIBURN (Mississippi Burning): The Murders of Michael Henry Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Earl Chaney, June 21, 1964

ReCap Microfilm 09175                  Printed guide (FilmB) E185.93.M6 F34          1 reel


FBI File on Moorish Science Temple

ReCap Microfilm 11875                  Printed Guide (FilmB) BP232.F23 1998         3 reels

“Noble Drew Ali, Prophet of Islam, founded the Moorish-American Science Temple in Chicago.  The FBI investigated the Moorish Science Temple for its alleged hostility toward capitalism and its efforts to incite revolution. This collection is organized into geographic sections demarcating FBI headquarters and various field offices, including Baltimore, Chicago, and Philadelphia. It is filed chronologically within the geographic sections. Materials contain correspondence, memos, reports, interviews, and pamphlets.”


FBI File on National Negro Congress 

Recap Microfilm 06061            Printed guide (FilmB) E185.61.F34                  2 reels


FBI File on Paul Robeson 

ReCap Microfilm 06062            Printed guide (FilmB) E185.97.R63 F34          2 reels


FBI File on Roy Wilkins 

ReCap Microfilm 07312                  Printed guide (Film B) E185.97.W54 F34         1 reel

“Provided is information on Wilkins’s connections to such figures as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Paul Robeson. The file is also rich in Black Panther Party documents critical of Wilkins.”


FBI File on W.E.B. Du Bois 

ReCap Microfilm 10592              Printed guide (FilmB) E185.97.D73 F24          1 reel

The documents reproduced here were drawn from the Washington files of the FBI concerning Du Bois’ membership in the Communist Party, tours of West Africa and Eastern Europe, excerpts of speeches, newspaper clippings, and files of the Passport Office.


FBI File on Thurgood Marshall 

ReCap Microfilm 11883              Printed guide (FilmB) KF8745.M34 F35 2001       1 reel

“This file contains information on Marshall’s civil rights activities in Texas during the 1950s and his allegations of harassment by Texas rangers and the Texas attorney general. Material reproduced here includes hate mail received by Marshall, background checks on Marshall and his supposed communist sympathies, and details on the FBI’s surveillance of Marshall. The file also details Marshall’s acrimonious relationship with the FBI and J. Edgar Hoover.”


FBI File on the Black Panther Party, North Carolina

ReCap Microfilm 06082            Printed guide (FilmB) E185.615.F24                    2 reels


FBI File on the KKK Murder of Viola Liuzzo

ReCap Microfilm 09176                             Printed guide (FilmB) E185.98.L58 F24 1990        1 reel


FBI File on the Murder of Lemuel Penn

ReCap Microfilm 11871            Printed guide (FilmB) HS2330.K63 F344 1997        5 reels


FBI File on the Muslim Mosque, Inc.

ReCap Microfilm 10591    Online guide      Printed guide (FilmB) BP223.Z8 L5743               3 reels

The collection covers Malcom X’s split with the Nation of Islam, as well as the formation, and surveillance of the Muslim Mosque, Inc. that continued beyond his death.


FBI File on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People

ReCap Microfilm 07314               Printed guide (FilmB) E185.5.N276 F34            4 reels

“These files on the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) cover the years 1923 to 1957, and reflect bureau investigations into the NAACP’s supposed connections with the Communist party.”


FBI File on the Organization of Afro-American Unity

ReCap Microfilm 10594                  Printed guide (FilmB) BP223.Z8 L5745          1 reel

Formed in 1964, “the Organization of Afro-American Unity was the brainchild of black activist Malcolm X.  The documents reproduced here were drawn from the Washington files of the FBI.”


FBI File on the Reverend Jesse Jackson 

ReCap Microfilm 06148                  Printed guide: none                                         1 reel


FBI File on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee 

ReCap Microfilm 09178               Printed guide (FilmB) E185.61.F355             2 reels

“The FBI maintained a file on the SNCC because Communists were believed to be infiltrating its leadership. This file comprises reports from nineteen cities, including Atlanta (SNCC national headquarters), Chicago, Dallas, and San Francisco. Each section is in chronological order, spanning 1964 to 1973. The file contains addresses, membership, and information on groups believed to associate with the SNCC.”


FBI Investigation File on Marcus Garvey 

ReCap Microfilm 04447                  Printed guide: none          1 reel

The collection contains FBI reports, memoranda, clippings, letters, and telegrams about Garvey’s activities.


Federal surveillance of Afro-Americans (1917-1925): the First World War, the Red Scare, and the Garvey Movement

ReCap Microfilm 05596                        Online guide                                        25 reels

“At the center of this collection are the enormous surveillance files of the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Investigation under Directors A. Bruce Bielaski, William J. Flynn, William J. Burns, and their young and able assistant, J. Edgar Hoover. From all of the bureau case files covering black groups, periodicals, and individuals between 1917 and 1922, every relevant file concerning black political activities has been included in this collection.”

Librarian for History and African American Studies