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Fred Hampton, Jr.

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A Vision for Liberation: Redefining the Activist Intellectual

Activist intellectuals may often be known for the written work they leave behind, but Fred Hampton, Jr. has made his mark working in the streets. He is in touch with the most pressing of todayís issues, and addresses them in a way that has made him accessible and inspiring to many, from the street corners to the college campuses. An electric speaker, Fred Hampton, Jr. identifies problems, speaks powerfully on them, and organizes solutions, compelling those around him to join in the struggle. His power rests in his commitment to organizing on a grassroots level, and his provocative words transcend boundaries to inform and empower. His legacy will be carried on through the impact he has on others, as anyone who has worked with him or even heard him speak can attest.

Who Is Fred Hampton, Jr?

In Chicago during the early morning hours of December 4, 1969, a special police unit (organized by both the Chicago Police Department and the FBI) stormed the Monroe Street Apartment of Fred Hampton, Sr., Deputy Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. Hampton, Sr. lay asleep in bed next to his pregnant girlfriend, Akua Njeri (formerly Deborah Johnson). Though, Hampton, Sr., Njeri, and Defense Captain Mark Clark among others were sleeping at the time of the raid, gunshots quickly ripped through the house, and both Hampton, Sr. and Clark were killed. Mark Clark could only shoot off a single round in his defense before he was killed, and it would be the only shot the Panthers fired. Hampton, Sr. was shot point blank while still in his bed.

Three and a half weeks later, on December 29th, Njeri gave birth to Fred Hampton, Jr. Hampton, Jr. was immersed in the struggle even before his birth, and he did not let the murder of his father deter him. Nor did he fall back on his fatherís accomplishments. Instead, he became an active community organizer himself, making sure that his fatherís legacy did not die with the man. In 1990 he became President of the National People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, an organization founded to defend the democratic rights of the African community. For this activism he too became a police target, and in 1992 he was incarcerated for two charges of aggravated arson. Hampton, Jr. spent almost 9 years behind bars before being released on September 14th, 2001. Both during his time locked up and after his release, Hampton, Jr. remained as active as ever. He is currently President and Chair of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee (POCC). Chairman Fred Hampton, Jr. is living testament to the reality that the struggle continues.

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