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Although the Black Panthers were almost exclusively engaged in activities such as community social programs, fighting segregation and monitoring and exposing police brutality towards African-Americans, the then FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover called the party "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country". Strong words from someone who had only shortly before been the most ardent supporter of the Communist witch hunt instigated by senator McCarthy which had ruined the lives and careers of so many totally innocent US citizens. Then as now, Hoover did never produce any evidence fore his allegation, but he did set the tone in public opinion.

The FBI kept fighting the Black Panthers with a vengeance, arresting and killing many of them and stirring up trouble within its leadership. And (some things never change) many of those arrests and killings were presented by the FBI as 'necessary reaction to Black Panther's shows of aggression'. Also, the Black Panther organization came into being in a time when blacks were still expected to 'know their place' - J. Edgar Hoover certainly would say Amen to that. A black organization calling itself 'militant' and setting out to monitor the behavior of white cops was controversial, if not shocking to 1960's public opinion.

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Q: Why are the Black Panthers so controversial?
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