J. Edgar Hoover

Directer of the FBI

Early Life

Hoover attended night classes at George Washington University while working as a clerk at the Library of Congress. After being admitted to the District of Columbia bar in 1917, his uncle, who was a judge, helped him land a job in the U.S. Justice Department. Within two years, he became special assistant to attorney general. In this position, he was given the responsibility of heading a new section of the Justice Department's Bureau of Investigation called the General Intelligence Division. The G.I.D. was created to gather intelligence on radical groups, and was responsible for organizing the arrest or deportation of alleged seditionists.

FBI- Marcus Garvey

In 1919, Hoover targeted Pan-African leader Marcus Garvey, naming him a "notorious negro agitator," and began searching for any evidence that would allow Garvey to be charged with a crime. Hoover hired the first black agent in the Bureau's history: James Wormley Jones. Jones was sent to gather intelligence on Garvey, and the resulting information led Hoover and his group to sabotage Garvey's Black Star Line, a series of ships meant to transport goods between the black communities of North America, the Carribbean and Africa. As a result, Garvey's Black Star service went bankrupt.

Hoover's Promotion

Advancing from assistant in 1921 to director of the Bureau of Investigation in 1924, Hoover emphasized modern technological investigative techniques, improved training, and obtained increased funding from Congress for the organization. During the 1930s, F.B.I. exploits against notorious gangsters, particularly John Dillinger, made Hoover a national hero. A string of high-profile gang arrests by the Bureau led to an expansion of power for the organization, and the Bureau became the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935.

Hoover against Martin Luther King Jr.

Hoover was renowned for his vendettas, particularly against Martin Luther King, Jr. Naming him "the most dangerous Negro in the future of this nation," Hoover used cointelpro to initiate around the clock surveillance on King, hoping to find evidence of communism or sexual deviance. Using an illegal wiretap, Hoover was convinced he had proof of King's infidelitous behavior, and attempted to push reporters into publicizing the recording. The media refused. Instead, Hoover sent the tape directly to King's office, suggesting he commit suicide or face exposure.