Forty seven years ago, on December 4, 1969, Black Panther party leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were assassinated by Chicago Police officers with cooperation from the FBI. Hampton was 21 years old at the time.
Hampton had founded the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party at the age of 20. He led in establishing the Breakfast for Children program and a free health clinic on the west side of the City. A main purpose of the Panthers was to resist police violence.
One of Hampton’s achievements was to persuade Chicago’s most powerful street gangs to agree on a non-aggression pact. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, however, considered the Panthers as “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.” The Panther party headquarters had been raided three times with over 100 members arrested.
The Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Frank Church (D-Idaho), revealed in 1976 that William O’Neal, Hampton’s bodyguard, was an FBI informant who had delivered an apartment floor-plan to the Bureau with an “X” marking the bed where Hampton died. About 100 shots were fired by the police, just one from the building. The survivors, including Deborah Johnson, Hampton’s pregnant girlfriend, were arrested and charged with attempting to murder the police.
From This Week in History, a publication of peacebuttons.info.
For more information on the murder of Fred Hampton and the government program to destroy the Black Panther Party, watch “The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther” on Democracy Now!
This special Democracy Now! report from December 4, 2014 included a lengthy discussion with Jeffrey Haas, author of The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther.