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Memories of a Black Panther Martyr:
Fred Hampton


Long Version: mp3, 3.36 MBs, 4:03
Short Version: mp3, 2.79 MBs, 3:17

[Col. Recorded 314/04]

"...[Y]ou can jail a revolutionary, but you can't jail the revolution. You can run a freedom fighter around the country but you can't run freedom fighting around the country. You can murder a liberator, but you can't
murder liberation." — Fred Hampton, April 27, 1969

I never had the pleasure of meeting Chairman Fred Hampton in life.

I read numerous articles about him in *The Black Panther* newspaper. I was impressed by this young man (who was older than I at the time), and I found his speeches inspiring. It was this ability, to organize and galvanize folks that had
the eyes of the Party on him; but also the eyes of the FBI.

On December 4, 1969, the FBI, working through state agencies in Chicago, and utilizing an inside snitch and infiltrator named William O'Neal, carried out a murderous
attack on 2337 W. Monroe St., a small apartment building in the Windy City.

O'Neal had drawn up a floorplan of the apartment, showing where people slept, and where guards were stationed. He also tampered with the weapons there, and
laced Fred Hampton's Kool Aid with secobarbitol, a barbituate which induced sleep. During the raid, several Panthers would try to awaken the drugged Chairman, but
he was too deeply under to budge. Several cops killed him as he slept, in his bed. They also murdered Mark Clark, a captain from Peoria, Illinois.

Eighteen-year old Brenda Harris was shot twice, while lying unarmed, in her bed. Several Panthers were also shot.

The state and federal so-called 'investigations' were whitewashes.

In late December, 1969, several BPP members and supporters left in a rickety sedan to join the Chicago chapter in their remembrance of their murdered leader. The chapter also did something extraordinary: they tore down the police tape, and ran tours through the dark, chilled apartment, to show the people directly, what happened on Monroe. We walked through the scene of carnage, and it was like walking through the
inside of a block of Swiss cheese. Bullet holes lined the walls, revealing police machinegun fire.

But the bedroom, where Fred and his wife, Deborah**, were sleeping, looked like a mortuary. Thick blood still caked the floor; and a mattress lay soaked, dark with the blood of Fred Hampton. If you looked at the walls of the bedroom, all shots seemed to converge where Fred's body once laid.

As Rene Johnson and I walked out of the Monroe St. apartment, our eyes adjusting to the gray winter light, we saw a line, running all the way down the block, and around the corner, of Black Chicagoans, waiting to view the death scene.

One of the supporters from Philadelphia, who had helped drive us to Chicago, had been somewhat reluctant to join the Party, although she would help. She was a young mother, and knew that such a life was dangerous. But after walking through the apartment of West Monroe St., her heart was hardened; her mind was set.

Rosemari Mealy was no longer a supporter, but would join the Black Panther Party.

The murders on Monroe St. were a joint action of the FBI and Chicago Police. They would later call their operation a "success," for they succeeded in extinguishing one of the brightest lights of the Black Panther Party. To this date, not one state or federal agent has ever served a second in jail for the premeditated, pre-planned, murders
of Hampton and Clark. In fact, the *only* people arrested, then, and since, were Panthers. Presumed guilty of survival!

One of those survivors, Deborah, would shortly give birth to Fred's son, a young man who bears a striking resemblance and similar spirit, of his martyred father:
Fred Hampton, Jr.!

There was death, and life, on Monroe St.

Fred Hampton, who worked for Black liberation, and Power to the People
— remembered.

Copyright 2004 Mumia Abu-Jamal


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Text © copyright 2003 by Mumia Abu-Jamal.
All rights reserved.
Reprinted by permission of the author.