May 2nd 1972: J. Edgar Hoover dies

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J. Edgar Hoover (1895 – 1972)

 

On this day in 1972 the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, John Edgar Hoover, died aged 77. Despite a difficult childhood, Hoover secured a law degree from George Washington University and in 1917 found work in the Justice Department. His initial roles centered around tackling the threat of communism within America, but this came to encompass anyone with a left-wing viewpoint. He famously secured the deportation of anarchist Emma Goldman. Hoover spent some time working at the FBI’s predecessor, the Bureau of Investigation, and went on to help found the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935. Under Hoover the FBI grew into the sophisticated crime-fighting agency we know today, as he instituted forensic and fingerprint technology and initiated intense background checks and physical tests in appointing new agents. He was a controversial figure, and has been accused of using the FBI to harass political dissenters and blackmail politicians. Upon his death, J. Edgar Hoover had led the FBI for 48 years; he was succeeded by L. Patrick Gray upon his death.

 

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Hoover family grave in the Congressional Cemetery in Washington D.C.

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One response to “May 2nd 1972: J. Edgar Hoover dies

  1. Interesting fellow. His early years and involvement with the Palmer raids is an area of history that talks a lot about the political climate of that particular era.

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