Black activists called FBI raids in St. Petersburg, Fla., and St. Louis, Mo., part of an ongoing attack against the Uhuru Movement and those fighting against the oppression of Black people.
At 5 a.m. in St. Louis, flashbang grenades went off and the FBI confiscated computer equipment and cell phones from members of the St. Louis chapter of the Uhuru House which is a part of the Uhuru Movement. Chairman Omali Yeshitela and his wife were handcuffed while the July 29 raid took place, reported local news outlets.
This happened shortly after the FBI raided the Uhuru House in St. Petersburg, alleging the group was influenced by Russian intelligence to spread propaganda and influence U.S. elections.
Akile Anai, who is a representative at the Uhuru House in St. Petersburg, said the raid was a typical FBI move. “I think that it’s very reminiscent of a period of time when they attacked the Black Panther Party of the 1960s. They came at 5:00-6:00 in the morning, similarly to how they did Fred Hampton in Chicago. This is pretty on-brand for the FBI.”
Fred Hampton was a leader of the Black Panther Party until 1969 when he was shot to death by police in his West Side apartment in Chicago. The 2021 movie “Judas and the Black Messiah” detailed the events leading up to his death and how an FBI informant was involved.
“When they attack us, they make the mistake to think that we’re alone, but there are masses of people around us—I think the people should exercise caution and protect this movement. We have to take ourselves seriously and organize the security components of our movement,” Ms. Anai continued.
The Uhuru Movement’s mission is to free and unite African people around the world. For over 50 years, the group has fought against police brutality, incarceration and the oppression of Black men and women.
Ms. Anai said members of Uhuru House are being labeled by the FBI as “unindicted co-conspirators.”
Zaki Baruti, president of the St. Louis-based Universal African People’s Organization, said the FBI raid was a message to Black organizations fighting oppression that they are not to have a voice when it comes to U.S. actions abroad.
“They’re saying that Black people don’t have a right to speak on foreign policy which we are directly affected by, just like in the Vietnam War, the Iraq War along with the Afghanistan War,” the longtime activist told The Final Call in a telephone interview. “It speaks to how they wiretapped and tried to cause division among the Nation of Islam, Malcolm X and Dr. King. In the case of Dr. King, it was one year after he spoke about the Vietnam War that he was murdered. It speaks about how they set up the Cointelpro program in the Black Panther Party, and on and on. Sadly to say, I believe that this is part of a greater effort to keep any Black organizations from speaking against the United States policy on Ukraine.”
The Counterintelligence Program, or Cointelpro, was the official name of the FBI’s domestic spying, infiltration and destroying of Black and dissident groups under J. Edgar Hoover. Its aim was to discredit, disrupt and destroy domestic organizations and individuals Mr. Hoover and others labeled “subversive.”
“We have to be mindful in terms of that as a policy that they’re trying to implement. You have to have a courageous spirit. And if Allah (God) is with you, who can go against you?” asked Mr. Baruti.
Chimurenga Waller is head of the security for the International People’s Democratic Uhuru Movement which is a part of the Uhuru Movement. He told The Final Call, “It’s been a while since I’ve seen this kind of open attack, but in 1946 the police teargassed our house. … They don’t have anything on us, they were trying to terrify our community, that’s the message.”
The Uhuru Movement, however, is not backing down.
Ms. Anai stressed the raid has not stopped the movement’s mission which is to defend the rights of African people everywhere against oppression. “We won’t back down, we won’t be afraid,” she said.
—Tariqah Muhammad, Staff Writer