January Resource of the Month - Federal Surveillance of African-Americans, 1920-1984
What is the Federal Surveillance of African Americans, 1920-1984 database?
This e-resource contains reproductions of hundreds of FBI files documenting the federal scrutiny, harassment, and prosecution of Black Americans. The files are reports from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Library. This Gale Primary Sources Archives Unbound database is based on original microfilm.
Per the Gale database description:
"[The FBI used Black] "confidential special informants" to infiltrate a variety of organizations. Hundreds of documents in this collection were originated by such operatives. The reports provide a wealth of detail on "Negro" radicals and their organizations. In addition to infiltration, the FBI contributed to the infringement of First Amendment freedoms by making its agents a constant visible presence at radical rallies and meetings."
Note: The database is not complete as it lacks the FBI files, for example, on Katherine Dunham, a famous UChicago Black graduate featured in the F.B. Eyes Digital Archive (web exhibit complementing William J. Maxwell's F.B. Eyes: How J. Edgar Hoover’s Ghostreaders Framed African American Literature).
How do I access the Federal Surveillance of African Americans, 1920-1984 database?
You can access the Federal Surveillance of African Americans, 1920-1984 database from the Law Databases webpage on the A-Z List of Law Databases page.
How do I use the Federal Surveillance of African Americans, 1920-1984 database?
You can do a basic keyword search or use the Advanced Search feature to search by document title, author/creator, number, limit by date, and view Search Tips. You can also browse the collection for specific subcollections such as:
- FBI File on the NAACP
- FBI File on the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
- FBI File on Thurgood Marshall
If you have questions about the Federal Surveillance of African Americans, 1920-1984 database, please feel free to schedule a research consultation or to speak to a reference librarian through Ask a Law Librarian.