Why Black Studies Education?

Fred Hampton (August 30, 1948 – December 4, 1969) was an African-American revolutionary, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and deputy chairman of the national BPP.

Born to working-class parents, Hampton became a pre-law major in college and deployed his knowledge to combat police brutality and unjust law enforcement practices that targeted Black youth living in historically looted, oppression-resisting communities in Chicago.

While Hampton impressed many of the people with whom he came into contact as an effective leader and talented communicator, those very qualities marked him as a major threat in the eyes of the FBI.

Hampton’s organizing work, oratorical qualities, and intellectual skills allowed him to rise quickly in the Black Panther Party. Once he became leader of the Chicago chapter, he organized weekly rallies, worked closely with the BPP’s local People’s Health Clinic, and taught political education classes.

He was gunned down while sleeping at his apartment during a raid by a tactical unit of the Cook County, Illinois State Attorney’s Office, in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department and the FBI.