Stop The Violence


The recent activities of a famously named young man have reminded me of the tough times of a bygone era. I was watching the tube when I saw a youth named Fred Hampton, Jr. interrupt a gun-control meeting being held by Mayor Richard M. Daley. Hampton asked Daley what was going to be done about the killing of 18-year-old Darryl Hamilton.

Community activist Fred Hampton Jr.

This is certainly not the first time a young man by the name of Fred Hampton shook things up in Chicago. According to the book “Clout,” written in 1975 by television commentator Len O’Connor, the Chicago Black Panther Party leader was assassinated on Dec. 4, 1969 when police officers burst into his home.

The order came from Mayor Richard J. Daley, the book claims, and the deed was carried out by Edward V. Hanrahan, then Cook County states attorney.

Hanrahan was acquitted of conspiring to obstruct justice under a cloud of controversy following the raid. Both Fred Hampton and party member Mark Clark were killed. One was still in bed.

Hampton, Jr. was accompanied in his televised interrogation of Daley by Aaron Patterson, a Democratic candidate for State Representative in the 6th district who was incarcerated for 17 years before being released and exonerated for a crime he had not committed.

RJ contacted Hampton for an interview. He is chairman of the Prisoners of Consciousness Committee, or POCC. Hampton describes POCC as an organization founded to help the youth of Chicago.

“While I was captive inside, we formed the POCC. Since being released I define myself as being recharged instead of being rehabilitated. The more I do this work, the more passionate I become, with my people in general.”

Right now he is helping to draw attention to the shooting of a youth gunned down on December 2, by the name of Darryl Hamilton.

Hamilton was shot in the back several times as well as in the head, according to Hampton, who also said that after shooting the youth he was dragged, face down across a playground, which caused his face to be mutilated.

Fred Hampton described himself as a freedom fighter.

“But in the eyes of the government,” he added, “I’m just a three-time offender.”

Hampton is also fighting to save The Beth-El All Nations Church, 6250 S. Justine, with Bishop Edgar Jackson as state overseer. The Church addresses many community concerns, according to Hampton, and is currently in a state of financial hardship.

Bishop Edgar Jackson and Fred Hampton Jr. stand in front of the door of Beth-el ALl Nations Church. The church provides a safe haven for youth in the area and food to the needy and is struggling to remain open

“If the church is lost,” Hampton said, “the people will have no where to turn.”

“Many more youth will be sitting on the corner, where there is nothing lurking but trouble.”

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