Fred Hampton Biography
Fred Hampton was a leader in the Black Panther Party who was harassed and targeted by local law enforcement and the FBI, resulting in his murder during a police raid on his apartment on December 4, 1969.
Who Was Fred Hampton?
Fred Hampton joined the Black Panther Party in 1968. He rapidly rose in its ranks, each in Chicago and on a nationwide degree. However, the Black Panther grew to become a regulation enforcement goal. In the early hours of December 4, 1969, police raided Hampton’s condo and shot the 21-year-old to loss of life. A later investigation revealed that police had fired practically 100 occasions, whereas just one bullet got here from contained in the condo, and that previous to his loss of life Hampton had been surveilled and tracked by the FBI.
Early Life and Education
Frederick Allen Hampton was born on August 30, 1948, to Francis and Iberia Hampton. His birthplace varies between sources. It has been listed as Chicago, in addition to the Chicago suburbs of Summit, Maywood, or Blue Island, Illinois. A e-book in regards to the Black Panther Party states that Hampton was born in Shreveport, Louisiana.
Hampton grew up with an older brother and sister. His household was pleasant with the household of Emmett Till earlier than Till’s 1955 homicide. Hampton’s household moved to Maywood, one other Chicago suburb when Hampton was 10.
Hampton attended Irving Elementary School and Proviso East High School. In highschool, he led the varsity‘s Interracial Committee. He additionally protested the varsity solely nominating white ladies to run for homecoming queen, which resulted within the inclusion of Black ladies.
After graduating with honors from Proviso East High School, Hampton studied pre-law at Triton Junior College. He additionally attended Crane Junior College (later Malcolm X College) and the University of Illinois at Chicago Circle.
Hampton led the Youth Council of the NAACP‘s West Suburban chapter, rising membership to greater than 500. He advocated for a neighborhood pool in his hometown of Maywood, which led to an arrest for “mob action” following an indication in 1967.
Involvement in Black Panther Party
In November 1968, Hampton helped discovered the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. From his base in Chicago, he served as chairman of this native chapter. Though Hampton was simply 20, he grew to become a revered chief within the Party, aided by his expertise for public talking and expertise in neighborhood organizing that included work with the NAACP.
As a Black Panther, Hampton organized for neighborhood providers equivalent to free breakfasts and well being clinics. He additionally oversaw the formation of a “Rainbow Coalition” between the Panthers and native gangs just like the Puerto Rican Young Lords and the white Young Patriots, whose households had migrated from Appalachia. Unfortunately, Hampton’s successes and rising profile resulted in destructive consideration from regulation enforcement.
FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover as soon as declared that the Black Panther Party was “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country”; he additionally feared the “rise of a messiah that would unify and electrify the militant nationalist movement.” To counter these perceived threats, the Bureau’s Counter Intelligence Program, often known as COINTELPRO, sought to discredit and undermine Black groups and leaders. Two weeks earlier than his loss of life, Hampton was added to the FBI’s Agitator Index, a listing of individuals Hoover thought of potential threats to nationwide safety.
Local regulation enforcement additionally pursued Hampton. While he was showing on tv in January 1969, Chicago police arrested him on an outdated visitors warrant. Later that 12 months Hampton went on trial for stealing ice cream bars within the Chicago suburb of Maywood in 1968 (a cost he denied). Hampton was convicted and sentenced to 2 to 5 years in jail. Tensions between the Panthers and police additionally rose when two officers and a Black Panther have been killed throughout a November 1969 shootout. Authorities felt Hampton’s function within the Party linked him to the police deaths, although he was out of city when the confrontation occurred.
Hampton wasn’t the one Panther who was below stress. Other get together members had been killed, have been behind bars, or had left the United States. With leaders like Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale out of fee whereas going through felony expenses, Hampton was elevated to nationwide spokesman for the get together shortly earlier than his loss of life.
Death and Aftermath
On December 4, 1969, Hampton was at his condo on Chicago’s West Side. Other Panthers, together with Hampton’s pregnant fiancée, have been additionally within the residence. At roughly 4:45 a.m., a dozen cops executed a search warrant for unlawful weapons and raided the condo. Almost instantly after they kicked open the door, Hampton’s fellow Black Panther Mark Clark was killed by a bullet that struck his heart.
A structure of Hampton’s condo, supplied by William O’Neal, an FBI informant who’d joined the Panthers, had been given to police previous to the raid. The night time of the raid O’Neal had additionally allegedly dosed Hampton with a sleep-inducing barbiturate. Police officers headed to Hampton’s bed room and fired on the mattress, putting Hampton however lacking his fiancée, Akua Njeri (then often known as Debra Johnson). Njeri later acknowledged that after police eliminated her from the room they said Hampton was “barely alive.” She then heard two pictures, adopted by the words, “He’s good and dead now.”
No unlawful weapons have been discovered in the course of the raid, however the seven Panthers who survived, 4 of whom have been injured, have been arrested for aggravated assault and tried homicide. As the condo was not sealed off, the Black Panther Party subsequently supplied excursions of the scene. Though the police account was that they’d been responding to gunfire, this story was debunked when what had been described by regulation enforcement as holes created by Panther bullets have been proven to truly be nail heads.
Charges towards the Panthers who’d survived the raid have been dismissed in 1970. That similar 12 months a federal grand jury investigation additionally discovered that police had fired 82 to 99 occasions, with just one shot coming from these within the condo. Cook County state’s lawyer Edward Hanrahan, who had directed the raid, was indicted for obstruction of justice in 1971, together with an assistant and 12 officers from the raid. However, no convictions resulted from these expenses.
Hanrahan was voted out of workplace in 1972. This was a harbinger of shifting Chicago politics, resulting in the election of the primary Black mayor of Chicago, Harold Washington, in 1983. That similar 12 months a settlement was reached for the town of Chicago, Cook County and the federal authorities to pay $1.85 million to survivors of the raid and to Hampton’s and Clark’s households, with a ruling that acknowledged the federal government had conspired towards the Black Panther Party and violated the civil rights of the plaintiffs.
Hampton’s funeral was held at First Baptist Church of Melrose Park on December 9, 1969. There have been greater than 5,000 folks in attendance. One of the eulogies was delivered by the Reverend Jesse Jackson.
Legacy and Movies
Hampton’s story has been advised within the 1971 documentary The Murder of Fred Hampton and within the 2021 film Judas and the Black Messiah directed by Shaka King and starring Daniel Kaluuya as Hampton.
Hampton was additionally portrayed by Kelvin Harrison Jr. within the 2020 film The Trial of the Chicago 7.
The Maywood neighborhood pool that Hampton had advocated for was named after him in 1970.
In 1990 and 2004 the Chicago City Council handed resolutions designating December 4 as Fred Hampton Day.
Hampton’s son, Fred Hampton Jr. was born just some weeks after his father’s loss of life.