The Murder of Fred Hampton
In 1968 the Film Group, a Chicago production company, began filming a documentary about the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party and their chairman Fred Hampton. A fiery orator, Hampton was only 20 years old at the time, but his electrifying words and actions were inspiring young Black people to demand respect and to insist that their power and voice be felt in local politics, in any politics. But Fred Hampton's dream included all people when he proclaimed in the voice of the prophet, "... if we don't stop fascism it'll stop us all."
At that same moment the FBI/CIA was implementing their notorious domestic counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) aimed at illegally suppressing domestic dissent and aimed especially at growing radical political organizations like the Black Panther Party. One FBI memo stated their charge as the need to "prevent the rise of a 'messiah' who could unite and electrify the militant black antinationalist movement." Working with local police departments, the government moved against Black Panther chapters and leaders across the country.
On December 4, 1969, in a predawn FBI-directed Chicago police raid, four Panthers suffered gunshot wounds, and Mark Clark and Fred Hampton were murdered. Within hours, Panthers arranged to get the Film Group crew into the scene and they were able to record the carnage. The film shows vividly what the police do to those who dare to openly, aggressively challenge government authority. In addition, the footage of the bloody, bullet-riddled wreckage directly contradicted the State's Attorney's version of the raid, and so filmmakers and Panthers came together to prove that Hampton had been the designated target of the violent, punitive raid. The film's inquiry pursues official spokesmen and traps them in their own lies and attempt at a cover-up of a brutal orchestrated assassination.
Run Time 88 mins
Black & White
VHS & DVD
Quality Rating System 1=Poor 10 =Best
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