I am outraged by the recent revelation that the Raleigh Police Department had the audacity to send an undercover cop into the NAACP’s Moral Monday planning sessions (“Police at protests were on lookout,” Oct. 8 news story).
As an African-American who has studied the historical surveillance of black organizations, I find this especially disturbing. The monitoring of radical organizations goes back as far as the Bureau of Investigation spying on Marcus Garvey’s movement in the early 20th century. It has also been reported that during this same period that U.S. military intelligence obtained the membership list of the NAACP from one of its early officers, Joel Spingarn.
The actions of the Raleigh Police Department also remind one of the Red Scare tactics of McCarthyism and the FBI’s COINTELPRO that targeted organizations during the civil rights/black power movement of the 1960s. Although I am not a member of the NAACP, I believe that all progressive organizers should be concerned about the actions of the Raleigh Police Department. If it can happen to one organization, it can happen to all. The community must call for a thorough investigation.
Paul Scott, Durham