revolutionary, fred hampton: “you can kill the revolutionary but, you can’t kill the revolution.”

December 4, 2013
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Revolution is synonymous for change. Who said you needed to be a certain complexion, size, or even have the same preferences as the person to your left or right? Exactly, no one! We all embody strength from one another and the legacies of even the greatest activists, leaders, and peers have somehow been intertwined in our psyche whether we realize it or not. In the words of Frantz Fanon, “Each generation must, out of relative obscurity, discover its mission, fulfill it or betray it.” We are the generation he speaks of, and the power is within us, as it was in Fred Hampton to provoke change, and become leaders.
Today marks the forty fourth year of Fred Hampton assassination whom the Chicago Police Department, Cook County State’s Attorney office, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conspired to assassinate along with the revolutionary and activist, Mark Clark. Fred was a young Panther with stupendous communication skills that evoked emotion and infiltrated into the conscience of FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover intensely enough that he made it his duty to devise a plan and completely destruct the objective of the Black Panther Party.

By Tip Jordan, AFROPUNK Contributor *

Throughout History, the African American culture has contributed greatly to not just the arts but a plethora of grand literature, and science as well as social leadership. Our representation in the political scene has been scarce to none because it seems as though every time there is a great impact of a cohesive Black alliance, it is sought out to be demolished by higher powers. This pattern is one of – if not the greatest – causes for revolt- a shifting in awareness that births a yearning to take what is not equally given nor respected.

Due to this awareness in a time coming out of the Civil Rights era, a group of young, intellectual and prolific Black men named Booby Seale, and Huey P. Newton formed The Black Panther Party of Self-Defense. What other collective of influential Afro people has left as great of a legacy other than the Black Panther Party?

Many aren’t aware of the presence that the BPP have on us today. For instance, the WIC Program (Women Infant and Children) originated by the BPP and adopted by the United States. Even to the symbol of the fist piercing the air representing solid, unbreakable power. There is no doubt that the BPP’s legacy is present in today’s society due to the fact that legendary pioneers like Jimi Hendrix and poet, Nikki Giovanni were inspired by them.

On December 4, 1969 in Chicago, Illinois, Black Panther activist Fred Hampton’s apartment was raided by the police and he was killed in his bed while asleep, along with Mark Clark who was sitting on the couch on security duty with a shotgun in his lap. From the fact that the Chicago Police department fired more than two hundred rounds, beat and dragged the bodies of the men killed and injured, it is obvious that the assassination was conspired. J. Edgar Hoover bribed William O’Neal who was jailed at the time to make rank in Fred’s camp as an informant, which he was unfortunately successful at.

Although Fred Hampton died at the tender age of twenty-one, only three years into the Black Panther’s establishment, his legacy and potential still lives on through us. We are Fred Hampton; each of us being vulnerable and having the capacity for greatness to hug our minds in order to help change the mentality of society during this pivotal time in History. No matter what barrier, privilege or one’s intent may be, murder can never murder excellence.

And still, Fred Hampton’s voice echoes through each of our fight for equality, be it Gay and Lesbian activism, or Women’s rights. His message reigns supreme in his proclamation, “You can kill the revolutionary but, you can’t kill the revolution.”

Art by Emory Douglas:

* Tip Jordan’s blog: www.beingtip.com