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“Tell me what has become of my rights
Am I invisible because you ignore me?
Your proclamation promised me free liberty, now
I’m tired of bein’ the victim of shame
They’re throwing me in a class with a bad name
I can’t believe this is the land from which I came
You know I do really hate to say it
The government don’t wanna see
But if Roosevelt was livin’
He wouldn’t let this be, no, no”

– Michael Jackson, “They Don’t Care About Us”


Celebrity Blacklist: Michael Jackson One of Several Black COINTELPRO Victims?
According to Minister Louis Farrakhan in his address, “The Crucifixion of Michael Jackson” — like several powerful African Americans before him — Jackson was the target of a black counter intelligence program fostered by the United States government and the media. Jackson was a bigger than life entertainer with immeasurable influence and for that reason negative “forces” emerged throughout his career in hopes of destroying his legacy, especially as he started using that influence to discuss real-world issues.


From the constant attacks on Jackson’s physical appearance to the much speculated, but never proven allegations of child molestation, it seems there was never a shortage of people, places or groups trying to dethrone the King of Pop. Here are some other prominent black figures whose work and spirit were — according to Minister Farrakhan, also the victims of a black COINTELPRO campaign.
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Paul Robeson
Robeson made a name for himself as the first black man featured in prominent dramatic roles at mostly white theaters. Robeson, a very vocal political activist, used his celebrity to voice his concerns on several social issues. His supposed Black Nationalist sentiments brought him under the watchful eye of Senator Joseph McCarthy and his anti-communists campaign. The government would later revoke Robeson’s passport, preventing him from traveling abroad and thus putting a halt on his once-burgeoning career. Robeson had his passport returned eight years later, but his career never recovered.


Martin Luther King Jr.
As Martin Luther King Jr.’s national and international stature expanded, so did the scrutiny from the federal government. The counter intelligence probes escalated after King’s “Beyond Vietnam” speech, where he directly criticized the U.S. government. There were reports that J. Edgar Hoover had been working to destroy King’s credibility as early as 1957, using combinations of wire-tapping and illegal surveillance techniques to promote the idea that the Civil Rights icon was a sex-crazed womanizer.


Muhammad Ali
Once he made the change from Cassius Clay to Muhammad Ali after joining the Nation of Islam, the legendary boxer was quick to discover that there was no shortage of supply for haters. In addition to his move to the NOI, Ali was publicly and harshly criticized for his outspoken opposition to the Vietnam War.