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National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and the Responses to Terrorism.

Numbers grew slightly starting in February 1967, when the party provided an armed escort at the San Francisco airport for Betty Shabazz, Malcolm X’s widow and keynote speaker at conference held in his honor.[23] By 1967, the SNCC began to fall apart due to policy disputes in its leadership and many members left for the Black Panthers.[24] Throughout 1967 the Panthers staged rallies and disrupted the California State Assembly with armed marchers.[25] In late 1967 the FBI developed COINTELPRO to investigate black nationalist groups and other civil rights leaders.[26] By 1969, the Black Panthers and their allies had become primary COINTELPRO targets, singled out in 233 of the 295 authorized “black nationalist” COINTELPRO actions. In 1968 the Republic of New Afrika was founded, a separatist group seeking a black country in the southern United States, only to dissolve by the early 1970s.

By 1968, many Black Panther leaders had been arrested, including founder Huey Newton for the murder of a police officer (Newton’s proseuction was eventually dismissed), yet membership surged. Black Panthers later engaged the police in a firefight in a Los Angeles gas station. In the same year, Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, creating nationwide riots, the widest wave of social unrest since the American Civil War.[27] In Cleveland, Ohio, the “Republic of New Libya” engaged the police in the Glenville shootout, which was followed by rioting.[28] The year also marked the start of the White Panther Party, a group of whites dedicated to the cause of the Black Panthers. Founders Pun Plamondon and John Sinclair were arrested, but eventually freed, in connection to the bombing of a Central Intelligence Agency office in Ann Arbor, Michigan that September.[29]