Black History Month 2024

1970 1971 1972

36 Lyndon B. Johnson | 37 Richard M. Nixon | 38 Gerald Ford

Black Power Affirmative Action Mass Incarceration

February 18, 1971
Nixon Began HMOs



Washington, D. C. - President Richard Nixon announced the health maintenance organization (HMO). These schemes were used to limit access to health care to Black Americans. As HMOs spread and grew in size, health care access in the United States declined.

50 years later, the United States had one of the least effective and most expensive health care systems in the world. Many Americans went broke from unpaid medical bills.

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March 8, 1971
COINTELPRO Made Public



Media, Pennsylvania - Documents were stolen that exposed COINTELPRO. They were taken, at night, in a break-in, from a Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) field office.

COINTELPRO stood for COunter-INTELligence PROgram. It was a years-long government effort to disrupt, confuse, and spy on Black Americans and groups. It began at the start of the Black (later Civil) Rights movement, in 1956.

The break-in happened during the 'Fight of the Century' the same day. It was hoped the spectacle of the fight was enough to divert attention from the break-in. The plan was carried out by the Citizen’s Commission. They were never caught. Their names were not known until 2014.

Targets of COINTELPRO were Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, The Nation of Islam, The Black Panther Party, and Fred Hampton, to name just a few victims.

The FBI claimed COINTELPRO ended, in 1971.

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April 19, 1971
The Revolution Will Not Be Televised



New York City, New York - Gil Scott-Heron released the song, The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. It was recorded at the RCA Studios. The song was sold on the Flying Dutchman label.

It was a popular phrase from the Black Power movement, of the 1960s.

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May 21, 1971
What's Going On? Album Released



Detroit, Michigan - Marvin Gaye's What's Going On? album was released. It was one of the most important and timeless recording albums of the Vietnam War era.

Motown founder, Berry Gordy feared the lyrics were too honest. Gaye said the album was a hit. Gordy released the full album on Motown's sub-label, Tamla.

1.'What's Going On' 3:53 (Marvin Gaye, Al Cleveland, Renaldo 'Obie' Benson)
2. 'What's Happening Brother' 2:43 (Gaye, James Nyx Jr.)
3. 'Flyin' High (In the Friendly Sky)' 3:49 (Gaye, Anna Gordy Gaye, Elgie Stover)
4. 'Save the Children' 4:03 (Gaye, Cleveland Benson)
5. 'God Is Love' 1:41 (Gaye, A. Gaye, Stover Nyx)
6. 'Mercy Mercy Me' (The Ecology) 3:16 (Gaye)

Side two
1. 'Right On' 7:31 (Gaye, Earl DeRouen)
2. 'Wholy Holy' 3:08 (Gaye, Benson Cleveland)
3. 'Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)' 5:26 (Gaye, Nyx)

The single, What's Going On?, was released January 20, 1971.

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July 17, 1971
'War on Drugs' Announced



Washington, D. C. - At a press conference, President Richard Nixon spoke on what became the 'War on Drugs.' The phrase was not used during the speech. It was created in news media reports later. Nixon said drug use was 'public enemy number one.'

A member of the Nixon White House said who the 'War' was really to defeat. John Ehrlichman was the White House Domestic Affairs Advisor. He came after Daniel P. Moynihan, of the Moynihan Report. In his role, Ehrlichman helped Nixon deal with the Black American problem, as they saw it.

Ehrlichman made these statements. 'The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.'

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September 9, 1971
'War On Crime' Began



Washington, D. C. - Nixon's Attorney General, John Mitchell, gave a speech that announced the 'War on Crime.' This was the last piece in Nixon's plan to attack Black Americans in the United States. The first was the HMO, to limit access to health care. The second was the 'War on Drugs.'

The speech that started the 'War on Crime' was given at the Conference on Crime Reduction. It used Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) crime statistics. FBI crime counting often under-reported crime in white areas and over-reported it in Black American areas. This data was used to add funding for police and other punitive acts against Black Americans.

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