Fred Hampton

Fredrick Allen Hampton Sr. (August 30, 1948 – December 4, 1969) was an American activist and Marxist–Leninist.[4][5] He came to prominence in Chicago as chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and deputy chairman of the national BPP. In this capacity, he founded the antiracist, anticlass Rainbow Coalition,[6] a prominent multicultural political organization that initially included the Black Panthers, Young Patriots (which organized poor whites), and the Young Lords (which organized Hispanics), and an alliance among major Chicago street gangs to help them end infighting and work for social change. Hampton considered fascism the greatest threat, saying, "Nothing is more important than stopping fascism, because fascism will stop us all.”[7]

Fred Hampton
Hampton c. 1968
Born
Fredrick Allen Hampton

August 30, 1948
DiedDecember 4, 1969(1969-12-04) (aged 21)
Cause of deathAssassination (gunshot wounds)[1][2][3]
Resting placeBethel Cemetery, Haynesville, Louisiana, US
EducationTriton Junior College, Proviso East High School
OccupationActivist, revolutionary
Years active1966–1969
Known forChairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party
Political partyBlack Panther Party
Partner(s)Akua Njeri
ChildrenFred Hampton Jr.

In 1967, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) identified Hampton as a radical threat. It tried to subvert his activities in Chicago, sowing disinformation among black progressive groups and placing a counterintelligence operative in the local Panthers. In December 1969, Hampton was drugged,[8][9] shot and killed in his bed during a predawn raid at his Chicago apartment by a tactical unit of the Cook County State's Attorney's Office in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department and the FBI. Law enforcement sprayed more than 90 gunshots throughout the apartment; the occupants fired once.[10] During the raid, Panther Mark Clark was also killed and several others were seriously wounded. In January 1970, the Cook County Coroner held an inquest; the jury concluded that Hampton's and Clark's deaths were justifiable homicides.[11][12][13][14]

A civil lawsuit was later filed on behalf of the survivors and the relatives of Hampton and Clark. It was resolved in 1982 by a settlement of $1.85 million (equivalent to $4.96 million in 2020); the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the federal government each paid one-third to a group of nine plaintiffs. Given revelations about the illegal COINTELPRO program and documents associated with the killings, many scholars now consider Hampton's death an assassination at the FBI's initiative.[3][1][2][15][16]


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