Thread: 50 years ago, on Dec. 4, 1969, Chicago cops killed 21-year-old Black Panther, Fred Hampton
Hampton's death wasn't just another police murder. Even more than MLK or Malcolm X, Hampton's murder might be the most important black assassination in US history. Here's why:
First of all, most people think they know about the Black Panthers, but they don't. For instance, everyone associates the Black Panther Party with Oakland. That's where it came from, right? And they were about retaliation and violence, right
See, bruh, you're already wrong.
In 1965 there was this young activist working down in Lowndes County, Ala. Lowndes County is BLACK AF. Seriously, even the dirt there is black. That's why they call it the Black Belt. Sometimes they call it Bloody Lowndes County because they lynched so many black people there.
Even though Lowndes County is 80 percent black, after the Voting Rights Act passed in '65 there were literally ZERO registered voters in Lowndes County. Now part of that was because, when black people in Lowndes County tried to register to vote, the mysteriously ended up dead.
Some would contract this weird magnetism to bullets and others would somehow end up with nooses around their necks. So this young activist with the Student Non-Violence Coordinating Committee went down to register people to vote.
But he wasn't gonna fuck around and end up dead.
So he carried a gun with him as he founded the Lowndes County Freedom Organization and registered hundreds of black people to vote.
During this time, the Alabama Democratic party mascot was white rooster, which might be the 3rd-most redneck mascot ever.
(UNC "Tarheel." is number 2. It feels like a racial slur.
Ohio State is #1. My aunt graduated from there and someone once called her a "buckeye," in front of me. I was gonna kicked their ass until she explained what they meant. It still sounds racist to me. )
The young LCFO prez HATED the white political parties. SO he created his own mascot and told the people that they had the right to defend themselves. And, for inspiration and self-affirmation, he got them to repeat a short chant/slogan of affirmation.
But he also told black people that they should arm themseves and register for guns.
Thousands of black people in Lowndes County and all over AL registered. When the SNCC's president decided to run for Congress, the young organizer took over the SNCC.
And that's how Stokely Carmichael replaced Congressman John Lewis as the SNCC national president.
As SNCC president, Carmichael toured colleges telling people about the value of self-defense. He even named his conferences after his slogan of self affirmation.
In October 29, 1966, he visited Berkeley College and met with a group of students who held the same ideas.
Two of the students, Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, asked Carmichael if they use the LCFO mascot. They had already adopted Carmichael's conference title and affirmation slogan into their ideology.
THAT'S when they became the Black Panthers.
THAT'S why they say "Black Power."
The Black Panthers were adamantly opposed to police violence and conducted armed patrol of the police. You know this outraged white folks and scared them. Especially when they showed up en masse at the State House with guns.
White people were like: "Nah, we can't have this."
In response, California passed the Mulford Act, one of the strictest gun laws in America. The Gov. who signed the bill was known as Ronnie, a pretty boy who did monkey movies. But his reactionwould propel him into national prominence as Ronald Reagan: Protector of white people.
Now some of what I am about to say will sound like a vast conspiracy theory but every word of it is true. You don't have to take my word for it.
In the 50s Herbert Hoover started a Counterintelligence Program to "prevent the rise of a black messiah" and discredit militant blacks
When Hampton joined the Black Panthers, the feds were worried. It had nothing to do with violence. It didn't really have anything to do with the Civil Rights Movement.
They KNEW Fred Hampton was different.
Like the others, Hampton started out with mainstream black organizations. By the time he was a teenager, he was organizing his own youth chapter of the NAACP in his small Illinois suburb.
In a SINGLE YEAR, he had 500 members.
If this sounds like hype, consider this:
When Hampton attended his FIRST BPP meeting in Nov. '68:
-the FBI had already opened up a file on him A YEAR EARLIER. -His phone had been tapped for 9 months.
-he had been designated as a "key leader" on the FBI's "agitator index" for 5 months
Fred was different, yall.
In six months, he had brokered a nonaggression pact with every gang in Chicago. He was teaching gang members the law. He upset the city hospitals when convinced doctors to volunteer and give FREE medical care.
But this isn't why he was dangerous.
He also got the gangs to shut down construction sites and other white-owned businesses unless they hired black workers.
But this isn't why he was dangerous.
In 1968 Fred had an idea. He convinced the Chicago gangs to pool their money and start supporting black candidates.
But this isn't why he was dangerous.
6 months before his death, the charismatic Hampton organized the Conference for the United Front Against Fascism. Calling the conglomerate the “Rainbow Coalition,” the group included black gangs, Puerto Rican gangs and others.
From July 18-21, 1969 people from across the US attended the conference, including lawyers, politicians and civil rights activists from all walks of life. They would all agree that ALL the organizations would fight for black freedom
A few hundred people showed up.
FIVE THOUSAND people attended the conference and they all reached the conclusion that black liberation could only be achieved through armed self-defense and community control of police.
But that wasn't why Hampton was dangerous.
(I know you're thinking: Just say it, nigga!")
There was a group at the conference called the Young Patriots who adopted the Panthers' 11-point plan. The Puerto Rican Young Lords promised solidarity, as did The Red Guard, a Chinese American group.
But here is why this was a problem:
Of the 5000 people who were in attendance, MOST were white.
Fred was creating a national coalition for armed resistance against racism. It would be the next phase in the Civil Rights Movement, so here's what happened:
Remember when I said Fred joined the Panthers in '68?
Well as soon as he joined, the FBI hired an informant named William O'Neal. Oneal agreed to infiltrate the BPP. He eventually became Hampton's bodyguard.
How did that happen?
Well, O'Neal fought valiantly in a gunfight against the Rangers. The Panthers would later discover that O'Neal had instigated the fight at the FBI's behest. Aside from trying to instigate rifts, O'Neal also rented an apartment for the Panthers.
One FBI agent wondered why Hoover was so adamant about this. He complained that the BPP was just feeding kids. In response, Hoover threatened every FBI officer's job if they didn't stop Hampton.
In Nov. Fred went to California. While he was there, the BPP leaders asked him to be the national spokesperson.
Meanwhile, back in Chicago, SOMEONE *cough* O'Neal instigated an attack on the police. Even though Fred was literally halfway across the country cops blamed him
On the night of Dec. 3, he had just finished teaching a class on politics and law at a local church. He went back to the headquarters and O'Neal fixed dinner. Fred laid down with his wife, who was 9 months pregnant, and went to sleep midsentence.
O'Neal lad left but Mark Clark was guarding the door. Around 4 am, police officers, burst in and opened fire on Fred and the Panthers. They said it was a "raid" but an investigation showed that the police fired between 90-99 bullets and the Panthers only fired 1.
Fred Hampton was dead at 21.
No one was ever charged with his death.
Lemme tell you about this white dude named John & his ride-or-die wife.
They were like a not-racist Bonnie & Clyde*
One night they got an idea that only white people would get.
(I don't know if Bonnie and Clyde were bigots but I assume every white person in the 1930's was racist. Plus his name was "Clyde." it's a known fact that 72% of all Clydes are racist. Look it up.)
On the night of March 8, 1971, during the legendary Ali/Frazier fight, John, his wife and their friends did something only white people would ever do:
They broke INTO an FBI building
They stole 1000s of pages of FBI documents and forwarded to newspapers around the country. No one would publish them until the Washington Post did.
The papers revealed the existence of the FBI's counterintelligence program. THIS is how we know that COINTELPRO was a real thing.
This is also how we know about Mark O'Neal.
In those 1000s of pages, were revelations that Mark O'neal had slipped a powerful drug into Fred Hampton's food that night.
In those files was a map of the apartment where Fred Hampton was killed drawn by O'Neal
For years, everyone had blamed Fred Hampton's death on Cook County and the city of Chicago. When Hampton's family tried to say it was a conspiracy, a judge threw out the case. But after those files were released, the FBI essentially admitted that they coordinated Hampton's murder
The family won what was thought, at that time, to be the biggest Civil Rights judgment ever and the world now had proof that the federal government had instituted a secret program to stop every black movement for freedom and equality.
But here's the coolest fucking thing of all
The people who committed that burglary were never caught.
They literally disappeared into the ether.
They called themselves the "Citizens Committee to Investigate the FBI" which is the 2nd whitest name for an organization ever (the first is "the Spice Girls)"
On the night of the burglary, they called and made this statement:
"These files will now be studied to determine:
1. the nature and extent of surveillance and intimidation carried on by this office of the FBI, particularly against groups and individuals working for a more just, humane and peaceful society.
2: to determine how much of the FBI's efforts are spent on relatively minor crimes by the poor and the powerless ...instead of investigating truly serious crimes... such as war profiteering, monopolistic practices, institutional racism, ...
3. The extent of illegal practices by the FBI, such as eavesdropping, entrapment, and the use of provocateurs and informers."
If not for these files, it would be easy to counter white people's arguments about black movements. We KNOW they are despised. We see this exact same history repeated with Black Lives Matter and "Black Identity Extremism." But now it is history and not a conspiracy theory.
But how the fuck is Fred Hampton responsible for uncovering this history?
Hold on, goddammit! You know I'm long-winded.
The reason those 7 people got away with the break-in is because they were relatively unknown. We STILL don't know the identities of three of the people involved.
One was a physics professor. He was the mastermind.
Another was John's wife. Another disappeared for 43 years
If they had never come forward in 2017, after the statute of limitations had expired, you wouldn't know who they were.
But you would know John.
John was a pastor and a professor at Temple. John was the one who called the press and gave that statement. He has a Wikipedia page
That's because John spent his time fighting racism. John was actually a Freedom Rider and went to jail for trying to integrate a bus station in Little Rock. He was a member of CORE and SNCC
John was a motherfucking G.
But John met a girl and had to settle down. They never stopped believing they had to fight for equality.
John's wife was an activist too. They even took "protest trips" to the South to fight racism. But now he and his wife had kids, it was too dangerous and violent.
But sometimes, John would tell people about this nagging feeling he had. Since his days as a freedom rider, he always believed that the people instigating anti-black violence were part of the government. But people thought he was a crazy conspiracy theorist.
And when Fred Hampton died, John was devastated. He had met Martin Luther King. He knew Stokely Carmichael. He really felt like the government had killed "the one."
He knew it sounded crazy. There was no way for him to prove it.
There was only one other person who felt this way, another professor named William Davidon.
Davidon was a motherfucking genius who also believed the government was spying on activist. Davidon was from Chicago and he didn't work at Temple. So how did he know John?
Well, John and Bonnie vowed to "risk their freedom to oppose injustice." while Davidon was an anti-war protester but all the known conspirators had one thing in common.
They attended & pledged solidarity to the United Front Against Fascism
Cointelpro killed Fred Hampton and Fred Hampton killed COINTELPRO..
You can follow @michaelharriot.
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