In Aaron Sorkin’s The Trial of the Chicago 7, Kelvin Harrison Jr portrays Fred Hampton, a 21-year-old rising leader of the Black Panther Party Although the film does not focus on Hampton’s life, his ideas and story remain relevant in the continuing struggle for racial and economic justice Although he was a unifying force, Hampton’s life was tragically cut short when police shot him dead in his West Side Chicago apartment.
So who was Fred Hampton? A powerful political voice in the late 1960s, Hampton served as chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party As a leader he had a knack for bringing together different groups of people to engage in class struggle issues He spoke often of how the ruling class used racism to exploit workers Along with other leaders, Hampton also rallied against the trial of the Chicago Seven, who were charged with criminal conspiracy and incitement to riot. 1968 Democratic National Convention
The US government followed Hampton closely and was eager to quell the rise of the Black Panther Party The FBI’s COINTELPRO campaign to disrupt and undermine militant groups targeted the Illinois section of the Black Panthers in December 4, 1969, 14 police officers raided the Hampton apartment at 2337 W Monroe Street at 4:30 a.m., executing a search warrant to locate weapons and explosives allegedly stored by the Black Panthers
Police shot and killed both Hampton and Black Panther Party member Mark Clark, 22, in addition to injuring four others The main witnesses were Harold Bell and Akua Njeri, Hampton’s fiancee, eight and a half months pregnant They later said Hampton was pulled alive from his bed and gunned down after the group surrendered As officers painted a photo of a shooting, a federal grand jury determined that police were responsible for 82-99 shots in the building, while only one shot appeared to have been fired from inside The federal government, Cook County and the City of Chicago paid $ 1.8 million for settlements to the families of Clark and Hampton, as well as others who survived the ambush
Fred Hampton, The Chicago 7 Trial, Kelvin Harrison Jr, Black Panther Party
World News – UA – The Chicago 7 Trial: What You Need To Know About legacy of fred hampton
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