Today marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. On December 4, 1969, Chicago police raided Hampton’s apartment and shot and killed him in his bed. He was just 21 years old. Black Panther leader Mark Clark was also killed by police in the raid. Authorities initially claimed the Panthers had opened fire on the police who were there to serve a search warrant for weapons. But evidence later emerged that told a very different story: The FBI, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Chicago police had conspired to assassinate Fred Hampton. This is Fred Hampton, in his own words, speaking before his death about the repression against his fellow Black Panther Party members.
Fred Hampton: “Bobby Seale is going through all types of physical and mental torture. But that’s all right, because we said even before this happened, and we’re going to say it after this and after I’m locked up and after everybody’s locked up, that you can jail revolutionaries, but you can’t jail the revolution. You might run a liberator like Eldridge Cleaver out the country, but you can’t run liberation out the country. You might murder a freedom fighter like Bobby Hutton, but you can’t murder freedom fighting.”
That was Fred Hampton speaking in the 1969 documentary “The Murder of Fred Hampton,” produced by the Chicago Film Group. Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were assassinated by the FBI and Chicago police 50 years ago today.