August 30th would have been the 73rd birthday of Chairman Fred Hampton. Current Chairman of the Black Panther Party Cubs, son Chairman Fred Hampton Jr., and his mother, Akua Njeri, and local politicians launched a petition for the Hampton House to be recognized as a historical landmark by the city of Maywood, IL. The Hampton House is the childhood home of Chairman Fred Hampton. The weekend was full of events that will include a skate party, a vigil, and “Life Procession,” and the renaming of a hall in the Chairman’s honor at his alma mater, Proviso East High School.
Chairman Hampton Jr. stated the launch of a petition for the home to have landmark status that this is a part of an ongoing campaign and works to keep intact the legacy of his father. He intentionally launched this petition to mark the 73rd birthday. Chairman Fred Hampton Sr. was the Deputy Chairman for the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, the Largest Chapter of the Black Panther Party, and the world.
Fred Hampton Jr. says that “the legacy is more important than his life, it’s also pride. The pride of Maywood is to see the children of the neighborhood with honor when they see this is the home and nearby school that the Chairman attended. Maywood may be a remote geographical location but represents a political giant”.
What does this mean to the city of Maywood and the City of Chicago?
“When working with the movie Judas and The Black Messiah, my mother and I were consultants making sure that the city of Maywood and the particular dynamics of Chicago (at that time) were in the movie. The response from the citizens of Maywood and the City of Chicago was outstanding. So many people were able to connect to the story as it represented themselves and their neighborhood. The petition and movie have impacted many generations to come. So the time is right for this part of history”.
Every year on August 30th is the annual Fred Hampton Street Party, and the theme of this year’s celebration is Chairman Fred: The Life Procession. The procession started with a clenched fist vigil at 2337 W Monroe, where the Chairmain was assassinated. Then, the Chairman’s wife, Akua Njeri; (formally Deborah Johnson), gave specific and horrific details.
Chairman Hampton Jr. wants the public to know that this is the time to have these conversations and that everyone understands the importance of the legacy of Chairman Fred Hampton. He doesn’t want people to look at this as a nostalgic abstract of how things used to be, but that the struggle continues.
The petition was launched and will be submitted in October. This year in October will be the 55th year of the founding of the Black Panther Party, and there will be a ‘One Party One Legacy’ unity celebration in commemoration. Chairman Fred Hampton Jr., The Black Panther Party Cubs organization, are carrying the legacy. He says it’s a tough act to follow but they continue to attempt to do their best.
For more information about the petition: www.savethehamptonhouse.org.
Contributing Writer, Shera Strange is a freelance writer and fitness specialist. Find her on social media @StrangeFitness or @SheraStrange