FBI Report on Elijah Muhammad

(1973)

Made available to the public under the Freedom of Information Act, the report of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on the Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Elijah Muhammad dates to 1973. The FBI Report on Elijah Muhammad is typical of the files the FBI maintained on prominent Americans, particularly under the long tenure (1924–1972) of its controversial director, J. Edgar Hoover. Many of these Americans were leaders in the civil rights movement and the protest movements of the 1960s; among them were Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Abbie Hoffman (founder of the Youth International Party, or “Yippies”), and innumerable others. Hoover maintained his power in Washington, D.C., in part by accumulating large amounts of information on people whose political beliefs he saw as a threat to American security.

During the height of the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, various organizations fell under the scrutiny of the FBI, including the NOI, which the bureau...

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J. Edgar Hoover (Library of Congress)

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