Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton helped establish the Chicago Panthers as an organization providing community services for the poor and brokered a treaty between the street gangs of the city — all before his twenty-first birthday.
Hampton was murdered by police on this date in 1969, shot down in his bed as he slept with his heavily pregnant girlfriend beside him.
Here’s Hampton, just weeks before he died, responding to the Days of Rage, a Weatherman riot in his hometown of Chicago.
“We believe that the Weatherman action is anarchistic, opportunistic, individualistic. It’s chauvinistic, it’s Custeristic. And that’s the bad part about it. It’s Custeristic in that its leaders take people into situations where the people can be massacred — and they call that a revolution. It’s nothing but child’s play, it’s folly. We think these people may be sincere but they’re misguided. They’re muddleheads and they’re scatterbrains.”