Date of Award

Spring 5-10-2019

Document Type

Honors Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


History and American Studies

Department Chair or Program Director

Ferrell, Claudine

First Advisor

Devlin, Erin

Major or Concentration

American Studies


The 1969 murder of local Black Panther Party (BPP) leader Fred Hampton by Chicago police officers was orchestrated by the FBI field office in the city. J. Edgar Hoover, director of the FBI, authorized Hampton’s murder on the grounds that Hampton and the BPP were violent extremists. Through infiltration of the Chicago chapter of the BPP and dissemination of cultural propaganda in Black and white newspapers, the FBI turned public opinion against the party. After Hampton’s murder, the newspaper coverage of the subsequent trial further soured public opinion. Through careful analysis of internal FBI documents, trial transcripts, newspaper coverage, and FBI propaganda tactics including cartoons, comics, and falsified letters to the editor, this thesis demonstrates that the FBI used propaganda and infiltration tactics to spread false information and create moral panic about the BPP by murdering a man in cold blood and calling it justifiable.

Included in

History Commons