This is the eve of the night on which the Chicago Police Department, through J. Edgar Hoover's/FBI endorsed COINTELPRO, that Deputy Chairman Fred Hampton Sr. and Defense Captain Mark Clark were ambushed and assassinated while they slept; Chairman Fred in bed with his pregnant wife. This year marks the 40th Anniversary of "The Murder On Monroe".
These men were two YOUNG courageous members of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. They embodied the character and personality that is so lacking in the youth of our black communities today. They were men devoted to their families and to the pursuit of freedom and justice. Instead of promoting and exploiting the ignorance and troubles that we endure, they fought to create unity around these common issues that were affecting us across the country. They created the free breakfast and health screening for our children. While Chicago sought to lock up (or kill) the street's Lords, Stones and Disciples, Fred and Mark along with the BPP sought to organize, politicize and unify them through various community outreach and development programs.
Being a threat to the government's COINTELPRO politics that were designed to destabilize, discredit and destroy black leaders, and to "...prevent the rise of a Black Messiah...", it was obvious that they had to be killed.
I was introduced to Chairman Fred Jr. about 7 years ago through a mutual friend I had been doing artwork for. I was very familiar with Chairman Fred Sr.'s story prior to this meeting, so it was nothing less than a pleasure to be able to shake hands and build with his son over dinner.
Later in the year, while in Chicago for a family reunion, I had to convinced my cousin to take me through his "opposing neighborhood". If you know the slightest bit about Chicago, if you represent a 6, you're usually not chillin' somewhere where 5's are being repped...lol. But he took me and it would be my first official meeting with Chairman Fred Jr. and his mother, "Mama" Akua Njeri. Here we discussed me playing a role in their National Revolutionary Day, a yearly memorial for the "Murder On Monroe". This would be the beginning of a 7 year working relationship with the family providing creative support in the form of flyer design.
I also had my younger cousin with me, and it was a beautiful thing b/c he wasn't familiar with the legacy of Fred Hampton. Surely I had drilled him on the Black Panther Party and the general importance of that movement, but as I met with Mama and Fred Jr., The Assassination Of Fred Hampton played in the background for my cousin to consume. He had now become one of what should be MANY young black men who have been enlightened by these fearless soldiers.
I think if OUR media and music focused on the likes of the REAL GHETTO SOLDIERS, the ones who fight (and not conform to) the system by any means necessary, the current and future leaders in our communities would be just as courageous and fearless. They would be more responsible brothers, fathers, uncles, cousins. Instead of the next Jay Z, we really need the reincarnation of the spirit that ran through the blood of Chair Fred Hampton and Deputy Mark Clark. The amazing fact is that Fred was a young 21 years old, Mark 22, when they were murdered. What they accomplished at that age is something divine to me...
But until that spirit rises, Rest In Freedom gentlemen. I'm sad to say that as a community we've gone backwards from what you sacrificed your lives for, but I am also proud to say that it definitely was not in vane. Not all of us have been consumed and programmed by the world society that seeks to destroy us as it sought to destroy you.
"You can kill the revolutionary, but you can't kill the revolution."
- Chairman Fred Hampton, August 30, 1948 – December 4, 1969
"You know who it is, you know what it is...peace out."