Event honors Chairman Fred Hampton Sr.

Photo: Amanda Avilez

Photo: Amanda Avilez

The Chairman Fred Street Party is a yearly observance by the Prisoners of Conscience Committee/Black Panther Party Cubs of the Aug. 30 birthday of Chairman Fred Hampton Sr. of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party.

The event takes place annually at Ground Zero, 2337 W. Chairman Fred Hampton Way (aka “Monroe St.”), where, on Dec. 4, 1969, a joint FBI/Chicago Police Department/Illinois State Attorney’s Office death squad assassinated Chairman Fred Sr. in his sleep during a cowardly raid that also claimed the life of Defense Captain Mark Clark. Clark was the only Panther who managed to get a round off during the murderous barrage of cop machine-gun fire.

The event began with Comrade Mother Akua Njeri (formerly known as Deborah Johnson, Chairman Fred Jr.’s mother) giving her harrowing account of what it was like to live through the cowardly terrorist cop raid.

Njeri said one of the death squad’s members executed Chairman Fred Sr. after discovering he was still breathing, saying, “He’s good and dead now,” after the fatal shot was delivered. After bringing her downstairs, the cops actually put a gun to her pregnant belly, threatening to shoot her.

At the event, Chairman Fred Jr. gave a talk on subjects ranging from the history of the Black Panther Party, the colonial land grab (gentrification) on Chicago’s predominantly Black West Side, the necessity of using brutal terms to describe the brutal reality of the mass incarceration of Black youth, to the importance of revolutionaries engaging with contemporary street culture as part of their organizing efforts.

Supporters of the POCC/BPPC reconvened later several blocks away at “The Wall,” a beautiful mural of Chairman Fred Sr. painted by the Rebel Diaz Arts Collective from the Bronx, for a street party featuring live poetry readings by youth from L.Y.R.I.C. and a live DJ set.