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On the 42nd anniversary of his assassination

Black Panther leader Fred Hampton honored

Published Dec 10, 2011 8:50 PM

Fred Hampton, Jr., with sunglasses, pays tribute to his revolutionary father.
WW photo: Jill White

At 4:45 a.m. on Dec. 4, 1969, a special Chicago Police Department/FBI/Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office death squad opened fire with machine guns, shotguns and side arms inside a small apartment at 2337 W. Monroe on this city’s West Side.

Their target was Chairman Fred Hampton of the Illinois Black Panther Party, who, along with another Party member, Mark Clark, were slain while sleeping. Referred to belovedly by the movement as Chairman Fred, he helped to successfully organize a free breakfast for children program, a sickle cell anemia testing program and political education study groups for Party and non-Party members.

Perhaps most dangerous for the Mayor Richard J. Daley dictatorship, he organized an alliance between street organizations like the Young Lords, the Blackstone Rangers and the Young Patriots.

His “serve the people” outlook had earned him a place on the FBI’s “Agitator Index,” which turned out to be a death sentence for him. Chairman Fred said, “You can kill the revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution,” and history has proven him to be correct.

Every year since 2001, revolutionary-minded people in Chicago and all over the world observe International Revolutionary Day on Dec. 4, in remembrance of Chairman Fred’s immortal contributions to the international proletarian revolutionary struggle.

Despite the blatant racist disrespect shown to the 2011 IRD observance by the nearby Fraternal Order of Police-sponsored Toys For Tots motorcycle parade, a moving memorial vigil was held at the site of Chairman Fred’s assassination at 2337 W. Honorary Chairman Fred Hampton Way. People came from as far away as Washington, D.C., to attend IRD.

Five minutes of silence were observed by the large crowd, led by Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee and Comrade Mother Akua Njeri. Representatives of the POCC, Black Panther Party Cubs, the Nation of Islam, L.Y.R.I.C. (Let Your Rhyme Inspire Creativity) and Workers World Party were present.

After the memorial was observed, messages of solidarity were offered by organizations and individuals to Chairman Fred Jr. and Comrade Mother Akua.

Later in the day, a reception and cultural performances were held at Wallace’s Catfish Corner, a soul food restaurant known as a meeting spot for community activists. A powerful performance was given by several youth who are affiliated with L.Y.R.I.C. about the assassination of Chairman Fred by the pigs. Poets, including K-Love of L.Y.R.I.C., Chairman Fred Jr.’s daughter Khadijah, Nubian Malik, Senyo and documentary filmmaker Daniel Yusef of Washington, D.C., delivered powerful spoken word performances. Singers included Harmony Grace, Ardice and N’gochi. Bishop Jackson, a close friend of the Hampton/Njeri family, delivered a prayer and a poem by Claude McKay.

“Chairman Fred Hampton Way,” a powerful documentary by Ray Baker about the struggle to rename the 2300 block of W. Monroe after Chairman Fred was shown, and a lively political discussion followed.