Sunday, December 06, 2009
Fred Hampton, Activist
At 4am on December 4th, 1969, the FBI, working with the Chicago police department, assassinated Chicago Black Panther Party Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton in his bed as he slept. Along with the murder of Mark Clark in the same apartment that night, the "raid" was one in a long line of illegal actions taken by the FBI as part of its COINTELPRO war against the social justice and anti-war movements.
Hampton's death was chronicled in the 1971 documentary film The Murder of Fred Hampton, as well as an episode the documentary series Eyes on the Prize.
Hampton was known as a skilled leader, and the FBI kept close tabs on his activities; FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover was determined to prevent the formation of a cohesive Black radical movement in the United States. Hoover viewed the Panthers, and other such radical coalitions, as a move toward the creation of a revolutionary body that could potentially overthrow the U.S. government.
The FBI opened a file on Hampton in 1967 that over the next two years expanded to twelve volumes and over four thousand pages. A wire tap was placed on Hampton's mother's phone in February 1968. By May of that year, Hampton's name was placed on the "Agitator Index" and he would be designated a "key militant leader for Bureau reporting purposes.
Not surprisingly, Mississippi Sovereignty Commission was keeping tabs on Hampton, too. Here are several links to get started ...
A letter dated Jan. 20, 1970 from the Committee to Defend the Panther 21. Ralph Abernathy’s name is at the top of the list of sponsors and has been circled.
A speech by Carl Braden at the University of Mississippi. "Don't end up ... and get murdered like Fred Hampton." Notes the RNA came to Mississippi for reasons of peace and media has misrepresented its efforts. Report is unsigned but stamped by the University Police.
Several heavily redacted news articles from the Commercial Appeal, Times Picayune, etc. from 1970.
Should make for some good reading ... even if the best files are probably still hidden somewhere underground in Jackson or nearby.