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Chairman FRED | Race for the Times Skip to main content

Chairman FRED

Fred Hampton (August 30, 1948 – December 4, 1969)

Chairman Fred was Deputy Chairman of the National Black Panther Party, and Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the BPP. Prior to his involvement with the BPP, he was an active youth organizer for the NAACP. November 1968, Fred joined the BPP and was instrumental in organizing a "non-agression pact" between street forces around Chicago. His work culminated in an alliance between different organizations including the BPP, Young Lords, The Brown Berets, Students for a Democratic Society and others. This coalition became known as the "Rainbow Coalition", as Hampton called a press conference in May 1969 to announce. Years later the name would be co-opted by Rev. Jess Jackson, the name appropiated for his Rainbow/PUSH organization, which was unrelated to the Chicago coalition. As COINTELPRO, the governments illegal operation created to dismantle, discredit and derail the Black Power Movement began its work, Chairman Fred continued the work for the people. His work in the community and organizing, put him in position to become apart of the Party's Central Committee's Chief of Staff. December 4th, 1969 Chairman Fred Hampton was sleeping in the bed with his pregnant girlfriend Deborah Johnson (Akua Njeri), when a raid was performed that culminated in the assassination of Chairman Fred Hampton, and Deputy Mark Clark. Since that day, the revelation of the government and police departments role in this action is more clear. A civil lawsuit filed in 1970 by the Hampton and Clark family was thrown out, but eventually reinstated and awarded after in 1979, the US Court of Appeals in Chicago stated that the government had withheld relevant documents thereby obstructing the judicial process. A settlement of $616,333 was to be paid out to the families from Cook County, City of Chicago and the Federal Government. 

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