Maybe you’ve heard of Fred Hampton from the acclaimed film Judas and the Black Messiah or maybe this is your first time hearing his name. For those who are unfamiliar with the impact of Hampton, it’s important to start with the honorable work and revolution he formed.
Hampton was the chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, he advocated for freedom for the Black community, the power of self-determination, and an end to police brutality. Without question, his entire life’s work was dedicated to giving back to others, during his time with the Black Panthers he helped organize several community programs, five different breakfast programs on the West Side, a free medical center, a door to door program of health services, and blood drives for the Cook County Hospital free of charge. He was driven by the impact he could make on the life of his community with the proper resources, he united those with differences around an equal cause, creating spaces for the people, controlled by the people with education at the center.
On December 3, 1969, 21-year-old Fred Hampton was assassinated as he lay asleep next to his pregnant fiancé Akua Njeri. But his legacy didn’t stop there, it lives on through the people he has touched, the lives he has changed and the difference he has made.
Fred Hampton Jr. holds a painting of his father Fred Hampton outside his family home in the Maywood suburb of Chicago on July 25, 2019. The suburban Chicago home where slain Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton grew up has been designated a historical landmark by the village of Maywood. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)
Preserving A Legacy
A campaign was launched in 2021 to preserve the home of Fred Hampton, this intention was led by his son Fred Hampton Jr. and his mother, Aku Njeri. After a year-long process, the Maywood Village Board in Chicago voted to recognize Hampton’s childhood home as a historical landmark, bringing the Save The Hampton House initiative a moment of victory. This act will turn Chairman Fred’s childhood home into a historic landmark and community center where visitors can learn about the legacy of the Black Panther Party and inspire future leaders in the movement.
According to Hampton Jr. during an interview with ABC Chicago, “The fight to save and maintain the Hampton House is bigger than a building and more significant than a structure,” said Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. in a statement included in the news release. “Amongst other purposes, it serves as a major aspect of preserving the extraordinary legacy of Chairman Fred Hampton, the Black Panther Party, and that of service to the people in general.”