Remembering Fred Hampton

The Black Panther revolutionary Fred Hampton was murdered by the FBI, the Chicago Police department, and the Cook County Attorney General’s office on this day in 1969.

Among a host of other radically progressive actions in his short life, he founded the Rainbow Coalition, an organization that brought together the Black Panthers, Young Patriots and the Young Lords, and an alliance among major Chicago street gangs to help them end infighting and work for social change.

Fred Hampton was shot and killed in his bed during a predawn raid at his Chicago apartment.

Some idea of his significance to the culture of black progressivism can be found on YouTube where a search on “Fred Hampton” produces hundreds of items, including video recordings of his speeches. And quoting wikipedia:

“Jeffrey Haas, who, together with his law partners G. Flint Taylor and Dennis Cunningham and attorney James D. Montgomery, were the attorneys for the plaintiffs in the federal suit Hampton v. Hanrahan, wrote a book about these events. He said that Chicago was worse off without Hampton:

Of course, there’s also the legacy that, without a young leader, I think the West Side of Chicago degenerated a lot into drugs. And without leaders like Fred Hampton, I think the gangs and the drugs became much more prevalent on the West Side. He was an alternative to that. He talked about serving the community, talked about breakfast programs, educating the people, community control of police. So I think that that’s unfortunately another legacy of Fred’s murder.”

Fred Hampton and his groups showed that there was an alternative to Dr. King’s firm moderation, and both were shot down for speaking up for the people against the power.

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