Where Have All the Black Revolutionaries Gone in Steel City? An Interview with Sala Udin


  • Tony Gaskew


On August 25, 1967, Pittsburgh became one of only twenty-two locations across the United States to initiate FBI Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) operations, in order to destroy the lives of the city’s Black revolutionaries. After I reviewed over four thousand pages of FBI Memorandums obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), it was very clear that J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI had surveilled one of Pittsburgh’s greatest Black Power Movement activists, Sala Udin. The FBI hoped to either weaken his authority as a leader, incarcerate him, or neutralize him. Today, over fifty years later, we cannot pretend the FBI’s documented acts of systemic violence against Udin do not exist. In two recorded interviews I had with Udin in July 2020 and May 2021, we spoke on a variety of issues, including his thoughts and self-reflection on nineteen pages of FBI COINTELPRO memos specifically detailing actions for his neutralization.