Interview with Eleanor Holmes Norton
QUESTION 18
JACKIE SHEARER:

OK, we're in 1972. The news has just broken nationally about COINTELPRO, the government operations to set up the movement actually to self-destruct. As a former movement person, were you surprised at this news?

ELEANOR HOLMES NORTON:

Movement people were not surprised that there had been surveillance by the FBI, set-ups to try to get people to do illegal activity, because we had heard enough clicks on the phone, had seen enough people who we believed to be provocateurs, so we suspected this all along. I must say, though, that this is one of the factors in American life that I think has never worn off: a kind of distrust of, of government, of, of, of White people's real intentions. There was a tendency on the part of some to see this as part of a large, White conspiracy against Black people, and here it was proved, here we were operating non-violently in the best traditions, and there is the government, the FBI and others, trying to get us to do things illegal, trying to catch us in doing things illegal, and that, that had a profoundly cynical effect, and to this day, I think that there is a line of mistrust among many Black people that will not be wiped away until they are replaced by another generation.

JACKIE SHEARER:

Good. Cut. Is that a rollout?