Thursday, February 8, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
William Hampton, the Maywood Park District commissioner and brother of famous Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, died early Thursday morning. He was 71 years old.
Hampton’s death was confirmed by close friends, his nephew and workers at Symphony at Aria, a nursing home and rehabilitation facility in Hillside, where he had been recovering from an unspecified surgical procedure.
Hampton was the primary steward of his brother Fred’s legacy and a reservoir of knowledge on the black experience in Maywood and across the country, friends say.
“He was really loved here in the community — him and his whole family,” said Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins. “The [Black Panthers] started programs, such as the breakfast programs for children, that affected Maywood and the world. His whole family will be missed.”
As recently as last year, the park district commissioner was consulting an upcoming biopic on Fred’s life to be directed by Antoine Fuqua.
“Bill was a mountain of knowledge about black history in the United States,” said former Maywood trustee and fellow Maywood-Proviso Rotary Club member Gary Woll.
“He had an amazing knowledge,” Woll added. “He could easily have been the one who led the Panthers all those years ago. He may not have been quite as articulate as his brother, but he was a mighty speaker for justice.”
Dawn Williams-Rone, the president of the Maywood Park District commission, said that Hampton was a faithful community member and bigger-than-life presence.
“He and his family are institutions in Maywood and his contributions to the park district are endless,” she said. “There’s no price you can put on the value of his time as a commissioner. He will be sorely missed.”
“It’s such a tragedy that he is gone,” said Maywood trustee Isiah Brandon. “He represented so much history in regards to keeping the legacy of Fred Hampton alive and being able to provide opportunities for so many through the Fred Hampton Scholarship Foundation. I think that will leave a major impact in the community.”
Hampton’s sister, Frances, died last August, a year after their mother, Iberia, died. They are survived by Fred’s only son, Fred Hampton, Jr.
More as this story develops. VFP
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