Detail View: CU Chicanx/Latinx History Collection: Session 4A: The Uses and Limitations of the Freedom of Information Act in Researching the 1974 Boulder Bombings

Collection Name: 
CU Chicanx History Collection
Session 4A: The Uses and Limitations of the Freedom of Information Act in Researching the 1974 Boulder Bombings
Romero, Jasón
Name Role: 
Name Affiliation: 
Director, Latino History Project, CU Boulder
Vigil, Ernesto B., 1948-
Name Role: 
Name Affiliation: 
Author of The Crusade for Justice: Chicano Militancy and the Government's War on Dissent
Resource Type: 
Moving image
symposia (conferences)
Place Created: 
Boulder (Colo.)
Date Created: 
Language Term: 
1 video : color, sound; 01:00:55
presentations (communicative events)
The bombings that resulted in the death of Los Seis de Boulder have never been "solved," yet frequent references to them invoke the murky and poorly-understood history of the FBI Counter-Intelligence Programs (COINTELPRO) as a possible explanation. In fact, there were thirteen COINTELPRO operations led by the FBI, and CU Boulder’s UMAS student group was the second-most important Chicano organization monitored by the FBI in Colorado in the 1960s and 1970s. This presentation will discuss what COINTELPRO was and what it wasn't, provide information about FBI programs in effect at that time, address the basic terminology and procedures of the FBI, and explain the uses and limitations of FOIA for furthering scholarship on this topic.An audience Q&A will follow the presentation.
00:00 Jasón Romero introduces the presentation and speaker; 09:15 Ernesto Vigil begins his presentation titled "The uses and limitations of the Freedom of Information Act: Researching the 1974 Boulder bombings." He admits he has the largest collection of FBI files on the Chicano movement; 12:30 Ernesto clarifies some of the terminology he is going to use throughout the presentation, such as 'counter intelligence'; 15:20 Ernesto relates the term counter intelligence to the work of the FBI in the United States. He continues to talk about how former director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover built the FBI into an agency that went from investigating violations of federal law to one that became a domestic and international spy agency; 22:15 Ernesto talks about his personal motives for researching Chicano movements and Los Seis. He talks about activism; 24:17 Ernesto talks about the origin of UMAS and his personal experiences with UMAS in the 1960s and 1970s; 29:00 Ernesto talks about high schools and the public school system, as well as how students of color make up the majority of students in urban public school systems. He continues to talk about the small percentage of students of color that were enrolled at the CU Boulder campus in the 1960s; 33:50 Ernesto talks about a time when students reached out to him about the Summer Tutorial Program that started in 1968 at CU Boulder. While the university managed to find money to introduce the students to campus life there was no money for the students to continue to attend school. Ernesto mentions the political climate and activists at the time that influenced the extra funding for students of color; 40:00 Ernesto talks about the Los Seis bombings as two separate events that occured. Ernesto talks about how he knew some of the students; 42:00 Ernesto talks about how the Freedom of Information Act released some of the FBI documents that Hoover thought would never be seen. He continues to talk about how some documents are redacted; 45:50 Ernesto shows an example of a government document that lists several activists that were tracked in Colorado. He continues to read through other government documents that relate to Los Seis; 53:30 Ernesto talks about blind memos in the FBI documentation and how their documents frame the Chicano students for blowing themselves up, but insertions from the FBI indicate they were behind the bombings; 01:00:00 Ernesto ends his discussion.
Note Type: 
Segment sequence
Subject Topic: 
Intelligence service
Subject Topic: 
Security classification (Government documents)
Subject Topic: 
Chicano movement
Subject Name: 
United States. Federal Bureau of Investigation. Washington Field Office
Subject Geographic: 
Subject Temporal: 
Nineteen seventies
Subject Title: 
Los Seis de Boulder
Session 4A 11.6.2021.mp4
Identifier ARK:
Physical Location: 
For more information about the physical collection, visit the University of Colorado Boulder Libraries Rare and Distinctive Collections.
Date Captured: 
Internet Media Type: 
Digital Origin: 
born digital
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