TRC founder and Chairman Emeritus DAVID TALBOT and board member JEFFERSON MORLEY on the 50th anniversary of FRED HAMPTON's death
It was 50 years ago today that a Chicago police hit squad, acting in coordination with Illinois state prosecutors and the FBI, burst into the apartment of 21-year-old Black Panther leader Fred Hampton and assassinated him while he was asleep in bed next to his pregnant wife. Overshadowed by all the government violence in the 1960s, this cold-blooded execution remains largely unknown by Americans. But at the time, Fred Hampton was a rising star on the American Left who embraced a "rainbow coalition" vision, uniting all races for radical change. As Jefferson Morley writes here, the charismatic young leader could have become a major change agent in American history.
But FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover was determined to use the bureau's notorious counterintelligence program -- COINTELPRO -- to "neutralize" promising radical leaders. Imagine what a different country we would live in today if the likes of Hampton, Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and the Kennedy brothers had not been eliminated by U.S. death squads!
by Jefferson Morley