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By 1967, the Panthers were one of the strongest black political groups in the nation, and by November 1968, J. Edgar Hoover dispatched a memorandum calling his field agents to “exploit all avenues of creating ...dissension within the ranks of the BPP” (Churchill and Wall 1990:63).
The attack on black political leadership in Los Angeles, and the power vacuum that remained, created a large void for young black youths in the late 1960s that coincided with the resurgence of black gangs. A generation of black teens in Los Angeles saw their role models and leadership decimated in the late 1960s. Raymond Washington, a 15-year-old student at Fremont High School, started the first new street gang in 1969, shortly after much of the Panther power base was eliminated and as other social and political groups became ineffective in Los Angeles.