NPR: Did Man Who Armed Black Panthers Lead Two Lives?

Richard Aoki, an iconic figure of the Asian American movement, is subject of the biography SAMURAI AMONG PANTHERS by Diane Fujino.

Fujino_Samurai coverIn the mid-1960s, the Black Panthers came to symbolize black militant power. They rejected the nonviolence of earlier civil rights campaigners and promoted a radical socialist agenda.

Styled in uniforms of black leather jackets, dark sunglasses and black berets, the Panthers were never shy about brandishing guns, a sign that they were ready for a fight.

The images and message terrified J. Edgar Hoover, then the director of the FBI, who called the group "the greatest threat to the internal security of the country." Hoover launched a covert campaign to undermine the Panthers.

Since the release of more FBI records from the time, a new question has come to the fore: Did the man who armed the Panthers work for the FBI?

Read and listen here.

Published in: NPR
By: Richard Gonzalez