Fred Hampton – This week’s profile in Black History

Illinois native Fred Hampton rose to national prominence as an activist and organizer with the Black Panther Party. He was shot to death while sleeping at his apartment during a raid by a tactical unit of the Cook County, Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In 1990, the Chicago City Council unanimously passed a resolution commemorating Dec. 4, as “Fred Hampton Day in Chicago”. The resolution read in part: “Fred Hampton, who was only 21 years old, made his mark in Chicago history not so much by his death as by the heroic efforts of his life and by his goals of empowering the most oppressed sector of Chicago’s Black community, bringing people into political life through participation in their own freedom fighting organization.” That same year (1990) FBI informant, William O’Neal, committed suicide after admitting his involvement in setting up the raid that took Hampton’s life.