High off the People

Fred Hampton, activist, believed that “You can murder a revolutionary but, you can’t murder the revolution.” He upheld this belief by continuously fighting for his fellow African Americans.

Fred Hampton

Jairus Banaji

Fred Hampton

Camille Jones, MHS Media Editor

Fred Hampton was born on August 4, 1948 in Chicago, Illinois. Shortly after graduating high school, Hampton became involved with the Illinois branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

His strong leadership and organizational skills led him to be quickly promoted to Youth Council President. With this position he mobilized a diverse group of young people. These young people persuaded city officials to improve and create academic resources and facilities for African American children.

Hampton’s great leadership skills are what brought him to become the Chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party. This organization was started by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale in 1966.

Hampton formed a group that was made of three different organizations: the National Young Lords, Students for a Democratic Society, and the Blackstone Rangers; they were also accompanied by working class white Americans from the north side of Chicago. All of these organizations went on to be known as the “Rainbow Coalition” where they were each other’s allies throughout protests and strikes.

Fred was greatly influenced by Martin Luther King Jr. saying, “I got a lot of respect for Martin Luther King. I mean, I think he was one of the greatest orators that the country ever produced.” Coincidentally, he died in a similar tragic manner.

He was passionate about this revolution as he can be quoted: “I don’t believe I’m going to die slipping on a piece of ice; I don’t believe I’m going to die because I got a bad heart; I don’t believe I’m going to die because of lung cancer. I believe that I’m going to be able to die doing the things I was born for.” Even though he was so young, Fred was willing to die for his cause and his people.

Fred Hampton was assassinated on December 4, 1969. Along with Fred, a member of the Peoria Chapter of the Black Panthers, Mark Clark, was killed.

Resolutions were passed in 1990 and 2004 that commemorated December 4th as Fred Hampton Day.