INDIANAPOLIS — It was 1971. The nation was gripped by anti-war and civil-rights protests.
John and Bonnie Raines were part of an eight-member group of anti-Vietnam War protestors who broke into an FBI office outside of Philadelphia and stole as many as 1,000 documents. The group leaked the files to journalists, who used them to produce months of headlines. The stolen documents would expose COINTELPRO, a secret FBI surveillance program that targeted Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Angela Davis and many others.
The Raineses will take the stage in Indianapolis next month to share their story of civil disobedience, civil rights and the role of government surveillance in modern society during a public panel discussion. A related film will be shown the next day at the Central Library location of the Indianapolis Public Library.
Betty Medsger, the Washington Post reporter who broke the COINTELPRO story and revealed the identities of the burglars in her 2014 book, “The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI,” will join the Raineses for the panel discussion, titled “Surveillance, Resistance, and Civil Rights,” from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9 at the Phoenix Theater, 749 N. Park Ave.
The IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute is the event’s sponsor. Free registration is available online.
The film, “1971: Paranoia, Surveillance and the American Dream,” will run 7 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 10 in the Clowes Auditorium at Central Library, 40 E. St. Clair St.
The movie screening is a Spirit & Place event sponsored by the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, Spirit & Place, Indiana Humanities and the Indianapolis Public Library.