J. Edgar Hoover

Here is a reading on J. Edgar Hoover along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. From the Intellectual Devotional series, this is a good general introduction to Hoover’s biography.

Any “good” biography of J. Edgar Hoover must by definition include his subversion of democracy, via COINTELPRO, during his reign as FBI Director. Hoover was a nasty piece of work, and he’s just the kind of villain that students find fascinating; he’s also a good figure with which to begin a critical examination of United States history in the twentieth century, including the Civil Rights Movement and the anti-Vietnam War upheavals. It’s an established fact that COINTELPRO monitored Malcolm X closely; his daughters, earlier this year, released a letter from the late New York City Police officer Raymond Wood in which Detective Wood confessed to participating with the FBI in the conspiracy to murder Malcolm. Netflix has done an admirable job of exposing this with the excellent documentary series Who Killed Malcolm X? I found it riveting.

In other words, these two documents are a gateway to some juicy, engaging stuff. I can already think of two students of mine who would have engaged deeply in a unit around these circumstances and events.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

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