Roy Wilkins was a political leader in the 1960s and 1970s.
In 1963, young activists led by Max Stanford (Muhammad Ahmad)—a close associate of Malcolm X and Queen Mother Audley Moore —created the Revolutionary Action Movement . A semi-clandestine organization and paramilitary wing of the Organization of Afro-American Unity, the RAM articulated a revolutionary program for African Americans that fused Black nationalism with Marxism-Leninism. Its goal was to develop revolutionary cadre in the northern cities and connect with more militant students in the south involved with the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee and the Congress of Racial Equality .
RAM supported the movement by SNCC and others for armed self-defense for southern Blacks terrorized by the Ku Klux Klan—the extra-legal army "enforcing the racist Jim Crow segregation system". RAM also provided security for Malcolm X after his break from the Nation of Islam and members of RAM actively participated in the Organization of Afro-American Unity.
RAM had an extremely active branch in Detroit, which had become a center of revolutionary activism. During the 1967 Detroit Rebellion, RAM formed the Black Guards, a youth group that hoped to channel the spontaneous rebellion into coordinated revolutionary action.
- Despite their limited success in this regard, RAM was one of the first groups that not only recognized the legitimacy of urban rebellions, but also aimed to formulate a concrete plan of action around those rebellions.
RAM became one of the first casualties of the FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) . Max Stanford and other RAM leaders were charged with plotting to assassinate mainstream political leaders Roy Wilkins and Whitney Young. At this point, Stanford dissolved the formal structure of the organization. As individuals, many RAM members gained influence in groups like the League of Revolutionary Black Workers.