Long live the spirit of Fred Hampton 50 years after his death

Fred Hamptonsource: Workers World
published: 3 December 2019

Fred Hampton, the official chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party and deputy chairman of the national BPP, was only 21 years old on Dec. 4, 1969, when he was brutally assassinated while sleeping in his bed.

He suffered multiple gunshot wounds in a raid by white, local Chicago police and other repressive state agencies after he had been drugged.

His partner, Akua Njeri, aka Deborah Johnson, was eight months pregnant with their son, Fred Hampton, Jr., at the time of the raid. She survived, but BPP member Mark Clark was also killed.

When Hampton died exactly 50 years ago, spontaneous demonstrations sprang up all over the country with the rallying cry, “Avenge Fred Hampton.”

Hampton was a victim of the U.S. government’s Cointelpro (Counter Intelligence Program), founded by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover during the early 1950s to target for imprisonment and assassination individual leaders or movements fighting for national liberation and social justice.

Some of the most well-known targets, besides Hampton, for Cointelpro’s 24-hour surveillance, especially in the 1960s and 1970s, were Malcolm X, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Young Lords, political prisoners Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the Black Panthers.

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