J. Edgar Hoover’s role in the killing of two Black Panthers demands a reckoning

Hoover’s name should be removed from the FBI Headquarters Building in Washington D.C.

SHARE J. Edgar Hoover’s role in the killing of two Black Panthers demands a reckoning
An April 1954 file photo of J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, and a boxer dog.

An April 1954 file photo of J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, and a boxer dog. Hoover’s racist actions are a reason to remove his name from the FBI Headquarters building.

AP archive photo

Compliments to the Sun-Times for its Jan. 25 editorial reminding readers of the 1969 assassination of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark as they slept, by a squad of Chicago police officers led by then-Cook County State’s Attorney Edward Hanrahan. The perpetrators were never brought to justice, thanks in large part to the connivance of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who helped green-light that raid. 

As the editorial pointed out, Hoover was a racist who tried his utmost to disrupt the quest for equality led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his Southern Christian Leadership Conference, using the FBI to employ every dirty trick imaginable. And that as late as 2019, the FBI described Black Lives Matter as “Black identity extremists,” according to the editorial. 

SEND LETTERS TO: letters@suntimes.com. Please include your neighborhood or hometown and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be 350 words or less.

In the current, ongoing era of racial reckoning, many symbols of America’s racist past, including statues of slave-holding Confederates, are being taken down. Government buildings named after slave owners are being re-named. In Washington D.C., the FBI’s headquarters bears the name of J. Edgar Hoover. As more and more is revealed about his racist motivations, it is clear that Hoover was at least as noxious as Confederate General Robert E. Lee, whose statues have recently been removed.

That being so, why does the FBI headquarters still bear Hoover’s name? His actions using the resources of the U. S. government, were at least as deplorable as those of any leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

Hoover’s name ought to be removed as surely as the names of actual slaveholders.

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park 

Democracy and dictatorship

While watching the news today, I figured out the solution to America’s problem. What problem, you say? Well, it has to do with many Americans wanting to live under a dictatorship. As luck would have it, Russia is having a similar but opposite problem. Right now, there are Russians protesting for a democracy. Go figure.

Well, Mr. Putin, let’s make a deal. We will take your democracy protestors off your hands, if you will take our autocracy protestors off our hands. Think about it.

Joseph Diethelm, Brookfield

Righting America’s ship of democracy

I am tired of reading attacks upon Republican leaders who have cozied back up to Mr. Trump. Let us not forget that pushing them from behind are millions of voters who have abandoned truth for falsehood and democracy for authoritarianism. It is sad, even contemptible, that these leaders have helped support conspiracies and lies. 

But it is not enough to challenge the McConnells, Grahams and Cruzes to tell their voters that the election was fair and that there are no conspiracies. Those of us who believe in a democratic way of life and republican form of government must address the multitudes of our misled fellow citizens, particularly those among our family, friends and neighbors.

To right the ship of state is the challenge to every democratic-minded citizen. It will take time, persistence, truth-telling, example-setting and sacrificial actions to demonstrate what we believe is the best form of government ever devised by our fellow human beings. This is our primary challenge.

The Rev. Martin Deppe, Ravenswood Manor

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