Sunday, April 09, 2006

You Can Kill The Revolutionary, But You Can Never Kill The Revolution: Fighting For The Legacy Of Chairman Fred Hampton


To view an important documentary which shows rare footage of Chairman Fred in action and discusses his assassination and legacy please click on the following link:
The Murder of Fred Hampton

As we approach the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party and with the recent peaceful passings of such old-school Civil Rights dignitaries and icons as Mrs. Rosa Parks and Mrs. Coretta Scott King respectfully,sometimes it is easy to forget just how young and committed many people in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements were who made the ultimate sacrifice...Fred Hampton, a charismatically gifted orator and brilliant political organizer who lead the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense during the 1960s clearly and unfortunately illustrates this point all too well...Fred Hampton was basically assassinated by the U.S. government while sleeping in his bed with his wife, who was pregnant with his only son and namesake at 4 in the morning on Dec. 4,1969...The Chicago Police Department pulled the physical trigger with the blessing and the help of J. Edgar Hoover's F.B.I.(COINTELPRO) and other government agencies either local, state or federal...Fred Hampton was only 21 years old when he met his physical demise, but his spirit lives on...Like he said so passionately and profoundly himself, "You can kill the revolutionary but you can never kill the revolution." It was also Chairman Fred and not Rev. Jesse Jackson who coined the phrase "Rainbow Coalition" due to his efforts and ability to attract,recruit and transform dispossessed people from the Chicago ghetto and different ethnic street gangs into empowered, well informed and resourceful political and community activists...Please listen to the interview conducted by Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! with Fred Hampton Jr., Hip Hop activist Rosa Clemente and Mutulu Olugabala of Dead Prez which deals with Chairman Fred's legacy and the crisis facing people of color today in the U.S....Recently, a lot of hell was raised over the possible naming of a street in Chairman Fred's honor in Chicago...The following article is courtesy of the Chicago Tribune and concerns the current controversy over naming a street in Chairman Fred's honor:

Black Panthers history prompts protest at City Council meeting

By Gary Washburn
Tribune staff reporter
Published March 29, 2006, 8:49 PM CST

Supporters of a proposal to commemorate slain Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton with an honorary street sign staged a raucous demonstration at City Hall on Wednesday, even as an influential alderman hinted he may allow a vote on the controversial issue.

Ald. Thomas Allen (38th), chairman of the City Council's Transportation Committee, strongly suggested last week that he would not allow a vote on the measure sponsored by Ald. Madeline Haithcock (2nd) that would make a short stretch of West Monroe Street in her ward "Fred Hampton Way."

But on Wednesday, Allen appeared to open the door to a vote at the next council meeting on April 26.

"It is going to see its day in court," he said of the proposal. "It's just a matter of time. We are going to see what Ald. Haithcock wants to do. ... She can have it heard either coming out of my committee or she can move to discharge it," bringing it to the council floor herself if she can muster support from a majority of the council's 50 aldermen, Allen said.

"There is a lot of discussion going on behind the scenes," he said. "We'll see what happens in April."

Before Wednesday's City Council meeting, U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Ill.), himself a one-time Panther Party official and Hampton colleague, held a City Hall news conference to announce a petition drive in support of a vote.

But Rush's comments repeatedly were cut short by an unidentified man with a bullhorn, who apparently came to the building with a group accompanying Hampton's son, Fred Hampton Jr.

"Bobby Rush had nothing to do with this," the man said of the street sign proposal, drowning out Rush in what quickly became a chaotic scene.

Rush ultimately tried to leave, retreating to an elevator. But until police officers on the scene cleared the way, the doors were kept open by Hampton Jr. supporters as the shouting continued.

Midway through the council meeting, a few dozen pro-Hampton demonstrators shouted and chanted outside the council chamber as police reinforcements were called.

Hampton accused Allen of doing the bidding of Mayor Richard Daley in blocking consideration of his father's honor.

"We say no justice, no peace as far as Daley or Allen," he declared. Allen asserted that he is "not doing anybody's bidding" on the sign issue, and Daley said, "I never talked to Allen about it."

But the mayor reiterated his belief that honorary signs, in general, "are a waste of time and money."

Some opponents contend that Hampton, killed in a 1969 law enforcement raid, should not be honored because of the Panthers' advocacy of violence against police.

Supporters of renaming the block where Hampton was killed said they want to honor him for being a leader in the black community who fed and clothed the poor.

After the council meeting, about 30 supporters accompanied Hampton Jr. as he taped a homemade sign to a light post near a cul-de-sac at Monroe Street and Western Avenue.

To chants of "black power" and "long live Chairman Fred," Hampton Jr. also taped a red, black and green African-American flag to the post.

In other council business Wednesday, Allen and Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th) introduced several measures calling for steep increases in fines for speeding and negligent driving.

Exceeding the typical 30 m.p.h. limit on city streets, for example, would cost a violator up to $300 for a first offense, up from a maximum of $200 currently. A third offense in a three-year period would bring a fine of up to $1,000, double the current maximum, as well as a mandatory sentence of at least 5 days in jail.

"We are trying to get some rein on poor driving," Allen said. "But in reality we need enforcement."

Meanwhile, a proposal for a 124-story residential tower that would be the nation's tallest building cleared its last hurdle at City Hall when the council approved a zoning change for its site, just west of Lake Shore Drive on the north bank of the Chicago River.

The distinctive tower, designed by Zurich-based architect Santiago Calatrava, will be "great for the city," Daley said. "It is really unique. .. It is a great symbol."

In other action:

The council passed a measure that would hold parents and other adults responsible for underage drinking parties in their homes. Violators risk up to 6 months in jail and fines of up to $200 for each young drinker.

More than 30 aldermen cosponsored a revamped "big box" ordinance that would require all retail companies with at least $1 billion in annual sales and stores in the city with at least 75,000 square feet to pay workers a minimum of $10 an hour and $3 in benefits. An earlier measure that would have applied only to new big box stores failed to win necessary support in the council.

Tribune staff reporter Josh Noel contributed to this report.

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