Facts about Fred Hampton
Fred Hampton Biography
Fred Hampton was a black Chicago activist who was murdered by law enforcement officers in 1969 because he was a leader of the Black Panther Party.
Raised in a Chicago suburb, Hampton was an honors graduate who studied pre-law at Triton Community College. He joined the NAACP in 1966, when he was 18, and quickly rose in the ranks as an organizer. A gifted speaker, the charismatic Hampton recruited hundreds of volunteers.
Hampton left the suburbs and joined the Chicago branch of the Black Panthers Party in late 1968. Hampton organized rallies, gave lectures, set up a free breakfast program, negotiated a truce between rival street gangs, and trained new recruits in clean living and the fight for social justice.
As a leader in the Panthers, Hampton drew the attention of the FBI, who wiretapped him and used an informant to infiltrate his inner circle. That informant, William O’Neal, gave police a map of Hampton’s apartment and drugged Hampton on the night of December 3, 1969.
Around 4:00 the next morning, Hampton’s home was raided by a team led by the Chicago police. Hampton, unconscious and in bed, was shot to death, as was his associate, Mark Clark, who’d been by the front door.
The killing was officially ruled justifiable. Seven people from Hampton’s home were arrested during the raid, but charges against them were eventually dropped. A civil suit on behalf of nine plaintiffs resulted in a settlement payment of $1.85 million by federal, city and county offficials— thirteen years after Hampton’s murder.
Something in Common with Fred Hampton
4 Good Links
- The National Archives has some of the blunt truth
- 1982 New York Times article about the final court settlement
- 1971 documentary in full, lots of stirring Hampton speeches
- The folks who fought the civil suit