Sunday, October 21, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
Featured image: A mantle inside of the Maywood apartment where Fred Hampton Sr. grew up. | Shanel Romain
Even though he’s currently fighting to secure his status as legal owner of the two-story multi-unit property where his father, Fred Hampton Sr., grew up, Fred Hampton Jr. has still attempted to turn the property at 804 S. 17th Ave. in Maywood into a living museum.
Hampton Jr. — the chairman of the Black Panther Party Cubs, a second-generation offshoot of the Black Panther Party — has painted the walls inside of the second-floor apartment where his father was raised sky blue, the official color of the Panther Cubs.
A sky blue bench has been installed just off of the outside entryway. A large sign bearing the Panther Cub logo covers the apartment’s large middle window.
Inside of the house into which Iberia and Francis, Hampton Sr.’s parents, moved in 1958, photos of struggle line the walls.
Fred Hampton Jr. gives a tour of the Maywood apartment where his father grew up. | Shanel Romain
Hampton Jr. gave a tour of the apartment to a crowd of a few dozen people on Oct. 21, shortly after representatives with Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough’s office announced that a pending foreclosure auction scheduled for Oct. 23 had been stayed.
The canceled auction gives attorneys more time to give Hampton Jr. and his cousins legal ownership — a step necessary in order to start negotiating with US Bank, the principal holder of the property’s underwater mortgage, about possibly restructuring the terms of the loan.
Hampton Jr. and other community leaders have been frantically looking for ways that the Hampton family can retain ownership of the home ever since learning about the threat of foreclosure. Iberia Hampton, who died in 2016, was the home’s last legal owner. Her oldest son, Bill Hampton, died earlier this year while her daughter, Dee Dee Hampton, died last year. When Iberia died, the home became the property of her estate.
A few feet away from the sofa where Bill Hampton would often sit while he was alive hung a photo of some Black Panther Party Cubs joining Native American activists at Standing Rock in North Dakota to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline.
On an opposite wall, a family photo of the Hampton family, taken in Haynesville, La., where Hampton Sr. is buried, sits on a mantle in front of an iconic portrait of the Black Panther leader, who was assassinated in 1969 by federal and local law enforcement officials.
Hampton Jr. was in his mother’s womb while she lay beside Hampton Sr.’s bullet-ridden body.
A photo of police rolling Hampton’s lifeless body out of the West Side apartment where he was murdered sits silently in a corner of the room.
“We say our legacy is more important than our life,” Hampton Jr. said. “We’re committed to make this not just a place to commemorate Chairman Fred and the Black Panther Party, but our people. The government took my father in a graphic way, but it’s a depiction of what happens to many of our fathers and mothers, in general.”
For more local news, ‘Like’ our Facebook page