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"You can kill a revolutionary, but you can't kill the revolution!"

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Fred Hampton

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Fred Hampton


Fred Hampton was a high school student and a promising leader when he joined the Black Panther Party at the age of 19. His status as a leader grew very quickly. By the age of 20 he became the leader for the Chicago Chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP) and was involved in numerous activities to improve the Black community in Chicago. To members of Chicago's African American community in the late 1960s, no leader was more inspiring, more articulate, or more effective than Fred Hampton.

He maintained regular speaking engagements and organized weekly rallies at the Chicago federal building on behalf of the BPP. He worked with a free People's Clinic, taught political education classes every morning at 6:00 a.m., and launched a community control of police project. Hampton was also instrumental in the BPP's Free Breakfast Program. He organized food pantries, educational programs, and recreational outlets for impoverished children, and helped bring about a peaceful coexistence among the city's rival street gangs. To civic leaders in Chicago, the FBI, and many others, however, he was a dangerous revolutionary leader, committed to the violent overthrow of the white-dominated system.

Because Hampton had the charisma to excite crowds during rallies, he was slated to be appointed to the Party's Central Committee. His position would have been Chief of Staff if he was not assassinated on December 4,1969 during a raid on the headquarters of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party.

This was almost certainly a planned assassination orchestrated by Federal agents and city leaders, who feared that Hampton's influence could lead to an all-out armed uprising by the city's most disenfranchised residents.

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