The film follows Fred Hampton’s leadership of the Chicago Black Panther Party as he confronts FBI infiltrators and assaults by the police in the late 1960s. Cohen claimed that the film presents a “clear depiction of [Hoover’s] efforts to impede the civil rights movement.”
Introducing the bill, Cohen declared that Hoover, who served as FBI director from 1924 to 1972, was “a notorious bigot who sought to disrupt the Civil Rights Movement, attack black and anti-war activists, and out LGBTQ federal employees. Under his leadership, the FBI engaged in a variety of practices of questionable legality. He may be best remembered for his campaign to discredit Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through the use of wiretaps and other tools. He is also implicated in the deaths of Fred Hampton and Malcolm X.”
“J. Edgar Hoover doesn’t deserve the honor and recognition of having the nation’s premiere law enforcement agency headquarters named for him,” Cohen continued. “The civil rights we enjoy today are in spite of J. Edgar Hoover, not because of him. Yet his name adorns one of the most prominent buildings on Pennsylvania Avenue in our nation’s capital and one that houses an agency of government responsible for assuring justice… I believe it is past time to remove his name from this place of honor.”
It’s comforting to know that in these desperate times of economic uncertainty, political polarization, violent partisanship, and a deadly pandemic, the Democrats who hold all political power are laser-focused on the issues that truly matter to Americans, like renaming buildings named after insufficiently woke historical figures.