Fight Back! News

News and Views from the People's Struggle

Chicago Mayor Johnson proclaims Chairman Fred Hampton Day

By Eric Struch

Mayor Johnson presents Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. and Mama Akua N'Jeri with a pro

Chicago, IL – Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. has spent his entire life fighting to carry forward the revolutionary legacy of the Black Panther Party. Chairman Fred Hampton Sr. was assassinated in hail of bullets from a combined Chicago Police Department, FBI, Illinois States Attorney’s Office death squad on December 4, 1969. The 4:30 a.m. raid was part of a nationwide counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) against the Black Panther Party and other revolutionary organizations.

Chairman Fred Jr. has always kept the revolutionary struggle front and center. August 30 is Chairman Fred Sr.'s birthday. Every year the Black Panther Party Cubs have a celebration of his life on that day. For many years the Black Panther Party Cubs struggled to force city hall to rename the 2300 block of W. Monroe Street after Chairman Fred Sr., since 2337 W. Monroe Street was the site of his assassination. The Black Panther Party Cubs mobilized the people against the racist mayoral administrations of Richard M. Daley and Rahm Emmanuel, who were intransigent in their opposition to the renaming campaign.

Now, the tables have turned with the election of progressive Brandon Johnson to the mayor's office. Johnson was a former Chicago Teachers Union organizer who played a role in organizing the 2012 teachers’ strike. He was elected mayor with wide support from labor and the Black and other oppressed nationality communities, as well as progressive whites, in Chicago.

It truly is a new day in Chicago as Mayor Johnson presented Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. and Mama Akua N'Jeri with a proclamation declaring August 30 as Chairman Fred Hampton Sr. Day. Mama Akua was moved to tears of joy upon the mayor's handing over of the proclamation to Chairman Fred in front of 2337 W. Monroe Street.

Mayor Johnson said, “It is truly my honor to celebrate the life, the legacy of a hero. I'm grateful that Mother Akua and Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. embraced me long before I was ever mayor of Chicago. They truly embody the very nature and essence of Chairman Fred Hampton Sr. You know, often times I think about the soul of Chicago. Chairman Fred embodied what clearly is a demonstration of power, a demonstration of one of the strongest, if not the strongest force on the planet. And that's love. In this role, I think an awful lot about Chairman Fred, to be quite frank with you. Not just simply because I live on the west side of Chicago. But that is part of it.”

Johnson continued, “But I think about Chairman because the world is extremely vicious when a Black man displays love. They saw it as a threat. So much so that it was a coordinated effort to remove that threat. But how many of you know that love conquers all? So we live forever through Chairman Fred. And as mayor of the city of Chicago, I have the privilege of investing in people and standing up for those who have been marginal. So when America talks about Medicare for all, I point to the Black Panther Party, that healthcare for all is a Black liberation ideology. When children across America get to eat breakfast before they go to school and get to have lunch and dinner, that's the love demonstrated by Chairman Fred! That's the West Side of Chicago embracing the fullness of who we are as a people, and now the rest of the world benefits from his life. So: Mother Akua, Chairman Fred Jr., it is truly my honor to provide you with this proclamation declaring this day officially and forever Chairman Fred Hampton Day!”

The applause from the crowd was thunderous and cries of “Long live Chairman Fred!” were raised.

The Black Panther Party Cubs continued this historic day with visits to the Emmett Till Home on 6427 S. Saint Lawrence Avenue and the site of the former Spurgeon “Jake” Winters Medical Center at 3850 W. 16th Street.

Solidarity statements were read by the New Era Young Lords and Illinois State Representative Danny Davis at the Black Panther Party mural at The Wall on W. Madison Street and California Avenue and ended up in Chairman Fred Hampton Sr.'s hometown of Maywood for the Hampton House Historic Landmark Designation at 804 S. 17th Avenue as well as the Fence Memorial unveiling at the Hampton Aquatic Center at 200 S. 3rd Avenue in Maywood.

#ChicagoIL #AfricanAmerican #FredHampton