Special Section Black Panther Party

1970 Congressional Investigation

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In 1970, Congress launched a full scale investigation of the Black Panther Party. Much of the attention focused on the national leadership and the Oakland headquarters, but several other chapters were also investigated, including Seattle. On May 12, the House Committee on Internal Security began hearings in Washington D.C. focused on the Seattle chapter. Six witnesses were called, only one of them a representative of the BPP. Co-founder Elmer Dixon refused to testify, citing his 5th Amendment guarantee against self-incrimination. Two of the witnesses were officers of the Seattle Police Department who had long been involved in Panther surveillance. Another two were investigators working for the Committee on Internal Security. The sixth witness was an undercover agent who testified secretly that he had been a member of the Seattle BPP for eighteen months.

Here are the documents, photographs, and testimony that the Committee considered. They contain, it should be noted, any number of mistakes and inaccurate assumptions. For example, some of the individuals identified as Panthers were not in fact members.

Exhibits:

Exhibit 1: Persons identified as leaders or members of the Seattle Chapter of the Black Panther Party

Exhibit 2: Photographs of suspected members obtained from police arrest files.

Exhibit 3: Photograph and labels identifying much of the Seattle leadership

Exhibit 4: Quotations by the Black Panther Party

Exhibit 5: Application for Party membership

Exhibit 6: The Objectives of Women Panthers

Exhibit 7: Photographs of offices, headquarters, and Breakfast Centers of the Seattle BPP

Exhibit 8-9: Aaron Dixon Food Stamp recertification documents (Appendix B pdf)

Exhibit 10-14: Safeway store boycott documents (Appendix B pdf)

Exhibit 15: Unidentified dynamite photograph

Exhibit 16: Arrest records of suspected Panthers

Testimony:

Opening statement by Chairman Richardson Preyer (North Carolina) and testimony of Archie J. Porter, Sergeant, Seattle Police Department May 12, 1970 (pdf)

Testimony of Stanley K. Fridell, Detective, Intelligence Division, Seattle Police Department May 13, 1970 (pdf)

Testimony of Elmer James Dixon III accompanied by counsel David Rein May 14, 1970 (pdf)

Testimony of Richard A. Shaw, Investigator, House Committee on Internal Security May 14, 1970 (pdf)

Testimony of Thomas Q. Simmons, investigator, House Committee on Internal Security May 14 and May 20, 1970 (pdf)

Appendix D: Secret testimony of undercover witness May 13, 1970 (pdf)

 

 

 

 


In this photo obtained by Congressional investigators much of the Seattle chapter leadership is identified. (Click to enlarge).

Below: one of a set of 24 mug shots obtained from police arrest files. Here are the others.


The committee obtained pictures of six locations that the BPP used as offices or to house breakfast programs. The building above served as Party headquarters in 1970. Here are the other BPP sites and addresses.


Above: an unidentified box of dynamite. Below: the Committee records examples of a Panther poster.


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