Tag: Bill Hampton

Funeral Arrangements for Frances “Dee Dee” Hampton Set

Friday, August 25, 2017 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

Funeral arrangements have been scheduled for Frances “Dee Dee” Hampton, the sister of Fred and Bill Hampton who died suddenly on Aug. 23 at 69. Her brother, Bill, announced the arrangements today.

Continue reading “Funeral Arrangements for Frances “Dee Dee” Hampton Set”

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Antoine Fuqua Developing Film on Maywood Native Fred Hampton

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Slain Black Panther Fred Hampton, whose life will be turned into a movie by director Antoine Fuqua, pictured below. | Wikipedia 

Antoine_FuquaThursday, May 11, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

Antoine Fuqua, the Academy Award-winning director of Training Day, is developing a film about Maywood native and Black Panther icon Fred Hampton, according to numerous media reports. Deadline Hollywood broke the story.

“The untitled movie is a passion project for Fuqua,” reported Variety. “It’s based on Jeffrey Haas’ book ‘The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther,’ which has been adapted by Chris Smith.”

Hampton was assassinated in 1969 by a tactical unit comprising FBI agents and Chicago police officers, who were carrying out orders given by the Cook County State’s Attorney. After his death, a 1982 civil lawsuit, filed by family members of Hampton and slain Panther Mark Clark, resulted in a settlement worth nearly $2 million.

The Village Free Press first reported about the prospects of a Fuqua film made about Hampton in December 2015.

Hampton’s brother, Maywood resident and park district commissioner Bill Hampton, said at the time that production conversations would begin in January 2016, although he didn’t know a precise timeline for the film’s completion. Hampton said at the time that the film would be loosely based on Haas’ book.

Hampton said at the time that he hopes filming takes place in Maywood, as well as in places in Chicago. He was also hopeful that the film would hire local actors.

“It will be based on Fred’s life all the way up to his death,” Hampton said, adding that he didn’t know which actor will be tapped to play the role of his larger than life brother. VFP

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Bill Hampton, Others Reflect on Fred’s Assassination in the Era of Trump

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Bill Hampton, the brother of Fred Hampton, in their childhood home in Maywood, flanked by photos of his mother Iberia’s grandparents, Edmond and Christine White, who were the children of slaves. | William Camarg/Wednesday Journa || Below left, former Black Panther Billy Dunbar, middle, speaks with members of the Maywood-Proviso Rotary Club last Thursday. | Michael Romain/VFP

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

G. Flint Taylor, Fred Hampton’s attorney who has also represented the slain Black Panther leader’s family for the half-century that’s elapsed since Hampton’s death in 1969, was recently cleaning out the basement of his Chicago law office when he stumbled on boxes full of familiar files.

“I found box after box of FBI documents,” Taylor said during remarks delivered during a meeting of the Maywood-Proviso Rotary Club, held at Meal of the Day Cafe, 1701 S. 1st Ave. in Maywood, on Feb. 23.

“In the middle of our trial, the government admitted that they had been hiding all of the FBI files on the Black Panther Party and on Fred,” Taylor recalled. “There were 200 volumes in our basement that they had to turn over — 15 volumes of surveillance and COINTELPRO documents of Fred Hampton alone.”

COINTELPRO is a clumsy portmanteau that’s jumbled from the words Counter Intelligence Program. The Federal Bureau of Investigations utilized the program heavily during the 1950s and 1960s as a covert, largely unconstitutional, method of spying on, discrediting and destroying political organizations considered threats to the United States.

Some of those ‘threats,’ like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X, are now considered icons today. After King’s 1963 speech delivered at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, Hoover dropped the hammer, telling William C. Sullivan, the federal agent at the helm of COINTELPRO, to intensify efforts to discredit King and disarm the potency of his message.

In the wake of King’s “powerful demagogic speech,” Sullivan wrote, “We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and national security.”

If being a charismatic, articulate African American male willing to speak out about constitutional ideals marked one as an enemy of the state, Fred Hampton might as well as have been marked since childhood, said many who reminisced on the Maywood native during last Thursday’s meeting.

Rotarian Delores Robinson, who attended Proviso East High School with Hampton in the mid-1960s, remembers how he would lead her and her fellow African American classmates out of the school’s clock tower entrance down Warren Avenue after classes let out. 

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“There weren’t many blacks at Proviso back then,” Robinson recalled. “When we would leave out of school at the end of the day, the blacks would walk out of that door and Fred would always have this song that went, ‘The more you give, the more God gives to you; you can’t beat God giving.’ We’d all walk down the street singing that.”

Don Williams, another member of Rotary who served as Mayor of Maywood in the 1990s and led the local NAACP at the time of Hampton’s ascendancy, recalled how he helped recruit Hampton to become the leader of the West Suburban NAACP’s Youth Council — a position that would become a launching pad for the young leader’s rise in the world of social activism.

“There was some turbulence at Proviso East and it seemed that the African American students were being short-changed,” Williams recalled. “We didn’t have anyone in the NAACP at that time we could offer who was young. There was a basketball player, Al Nuness, who was very well-known in the community and we thought we would solicit him.”

Williams said that Nuness was too busy with other commitments. The popular basketball player, however, recommended that the NAACP recruit Hampton.

“Nuness said, ‘You want Fred Hampton,’” Williams recalled. “He said he’s very active in the school and very well-known among the young people. You want Fred. So [we] recruited Fred Hampton. The rest is history.”

By the time Billy Dunbar joined the Black Panthers in 1968, the young Hampton’s reputation had circulated across Chicago several times over.

“I didn’t meet Fred until I got to headquarters at 2350 W. Madison St. [in Chicago], but people were telling me that this guy really had charisma and that he was talking about poor people and about how black people got mistreated by Mayor Daley’s regime,” Sullivan said. “He articulated the goals, needs and aspirations of black people at the time.”

When Dunbar and Hampton eventually met, Hampton had ascended to the position of chairman of the Black Panther’s Illinois chapter. Both men were in their early 20s — if they were that old.

“I found out later, through my experiences in the party, about the type of organizer Fred was,” Dunbar said. “He had the ability to analyze and initiate the programs that were told to employ by our leadership on the West Coast. He would identify members he thought had the qualifications or the ability to get the job done and he’d assign the tasks. We then got busy applying many of these things.”

Many times, Dunbar said, Hampton made great personnel choices. In the case of William O’Neal, Dunbar recalled, “he chose poorly.”

The ‘most dangerous group in the U.S.’

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On the night of Dec. 3, 1969, Bill Hampton spoke to his younger brother on the phone, mostly “about family things.”

“The next morning, after I got off work, I saw his picture on the front page of the paper that said, ‘Cops kill Panther leader,’” Bill said, recalling how he learned about the death of his brother the following day.

Fred had been murdered by a 14-man Special Prosecutions Unit, made up of Chicago police officers who entered the Black Panther chairman’s West Side apartment building at around 4 a.m., with a warrant for illegal weapons.

Fred had fallen asleep hours earlier while talking on the phone with his mother, Iberia. On the night of Dec. 3, he had taught a course in political education at a local church. By his side in the would-be deathbed was his fiancee, pregnant with Fred’s unborn son.

The tactical unit sprayed the apartment with automatic gunfire, unleashing a barrage of between 90 to 100 bullets. Another Black Panther, Mark Clark, was fatally shot in the chest. Fred was wounded when Black Panther Harold Bell claimed to have heard officers verbally identify Fred, before noting that he was “barely alive.”

“He’ll make it,” Bell recalled an officer saying. Then, two shots later: “He’s good and dead now.”

An autopsy would reveal that Fred sustained two point-blank bullets to the very head that had made him an Enemy of the State.

Taylor and his colleague, Jeffrey Haas, filed a civil suit in 1970 on behalf of the relatives of Fred and Clark. The young attorneys wanted to prove what many Illinois Black Panthers, namely Bobby Rush, were saying all along — that the FBI helped orchestrate the raid that killed Fred through its COINTELPRO operation.

When the civil case began in federal court, Taylor recalled in an article he wrote last December about Fred’s assassination for truth-out.org, the judge “reluctantly ordered” the FBI to hand over all of the files it had relating to Hampton and the Illinois Black Panthers.

The contents of those boxes that are located in the basement of the People’s Law Office, which Haas and Taylor founded together, reveal that O’Neal had infiltrated the Black Panther Party as an FBI informant.

“Memos to and from FBI headquarters and the Chicago office,” Taylor wrote, show that O’Neal was paid $300 for his part in the raid, which included slipping a sleeping agent, secobarbital, into the drink Fred had along with his dinner the night before he was killed. The barbiturate was to ensure that Fred would not wake up while officers riddled the apartment with bullets. O’Neal also gave the FBI a detailed layout of Fred’s apartment.

In 1979, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a trial judge’s initial ruling against the plaintiffs, “finding that the FBI and their government lawyers ‘obstructed justice’ by suppressing documents,” Taylor writes.

Those documents, the appeals court added, showed “that there was ‘serious evidence’ to support the conclusion that the FBI, [Cook County State’s Attorney Edward Hanrahan, who ordered the raid] and his police unit had participated in a ‘conspiracy designed to subvert and eliminate the Black Panther Party and its members.’”

Those suppressed files also provide evidence that the FBI deliberately incited violence and dissension between the Panthers and other black political organizations and street gangs. O’Neal, specifically, was ordered to create conflict among the Panthers and other organizations.

In 1968, Iberia’s phone was tapped and in 1969, “Fred was sent to [prison] for an armed robbery he didn’t do,” Taylor said at the Rotary meeting. Hampton was alleged to have stolen $71 worth of Good Humor Bars during a 1967 theft in Maywood. That’s how Taylor, a young Northwestern law student, first met Fred.

“They sent me and another law student out to Maywood to get affidavits about how great a person Fred was and to raise some bond money,” Taylor recalled. “So, I came out to Maywood and met a lot of people who were in awe of the Panthers.”

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All levels of government, however, would work to upset that positive perception of Fred and the Black Panther Party — lest it spread and morph into real political empowerment among a larger segment of the black population. Hoover was deeply terrified that the Panthers might muster the political and physical power to overthrow the government.

According to an FBI document relating to Fred’s assassination uploaded to the bureau’s digital records ‘vault,’ Hoover is said to have called the Black Panthers “the most dangerous group in the U.S.”

At the time of his death, Fred was in the process of attempting to increase the Black Panther Party’s membership and reach by joining forces with an array of black, white and Latino organizations. According to Stanley Nelson, Jr.’s documentary film, “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution,” Hoover ordered the FBI to stop the Panthers by “any means necessary.”

The demonization of Fred and Black Panthers went on even after Fred’s assassination, with Hanrahan praising his officer’s “restraint” and “professionalism” against the violent black men.

Rotarian Henderson Yarbrough, a sitting Maywood trustee and the village’s former mayor, said that he never met Fred personally, but he saw him speak at an event on the West Side in the early 1960s.

“I don’t remember what the event was all about, but it was about five Panthers that came through and, at the time, I feared some of them because of what the FBI and Hoover had done to destroy their reputation and to paint them as bad people,” he said at the Rotary meeting. “The [federal government] did a good job at dividing and destroying that group in the end.”

Connie Harvey, a former Black Panther who Fred recruited to help out with the organization’s famous breakfast program, still struggles to dispel the mythology that’s been propagated against the Panthers.

“Fred and I go way back to Argo, Illinois,” Harvey said at the last week’s Rotary meeting. “Our parents were friends with Mamie Till [Emmett Till’s mother]. They were staunch NAACP back in the day. I felt honored when Fred asked me to help cook for children on the West Side.”

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Harvey said that when she would tell people that she was a Panther, she’d often be met with responses rooted in fear and misunderstanding.

“They thought we were some gun-toting hoodlums,” she said. “My sister and I cooked and helped feed those children before they went to school. That was the first breakfast program. I was a teenager when we did that. I didn’t tote a gun.”

Dunbar and Bill characterized Panthers as Black America’s best and brightest — not hoodlums; but, rather, young men and women who put their lives on hold to struggle for justice. Today, Dunbar said, many former Panthers are lawyers, Ph.D.’s, educators and administrators.

“Fred encouraged all of us to get an education,” Harvey said. “I just finished my bachelor’s degree in educational development. We teach our children to get educated. We’re not bad people and anybody who thought we were was deceived.”

Bill said that he often confronts people who believe that the Panthers were wholesale against the police. That wasn’t the case, he explained.

“Nobody ever said that the whole police force was all bad,” Bill said. “For example, the Afro-American Patrolmen’s League worked very closely with the Panthers. The [patrolmen] caught slack. They were harassed because they wanted to be decent policemen.”

But the conspiracy to demonize isn’t particular to the Panthers, Bill added. 

“That’s the conception of black people in general,” he said. “We’ve been conceived in a lot of ways. That’s not by accident.”

The future ‘may well be upon us’

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Longtime Hampton family attorney G. Flint Taylor. | Pat Hickey

Nowadays, Taylor has been speaking against what he considers to be the resurgence of COINTELPRO-like methods and actions by the Donald Trump administration, particularly Trump’s executive order that gives Attorney General Jeff Sessions — the man whose checkered history on race prompted Coretta Scott King to write a letter opposing his nomination to a federal judgeship in 1986 — a broad set of directives.

Among them is the call to “develop a strategy for the Department’s use of existing Federal laws to prosecute individuals who commit or attempt to commit crimes of violence against Federal, State, tribal, and local law enforcement officers.”

Taylor stated on truth-out.org earlier this month that the president’s executive order gives Sessions “a carte blanche to bring down the wrath of the federal government on anyone who is unfortunate enough to have a confrontation with a cop, a prison guard, a border patrol officer or who knows who else outfitted with a badge and carrying a gun.”

“At first blush, the order could be seen simply as a wildly unpopular president playing macho man to our nation’s police departments and their reactionary police unions,” Taylor wrote. “The unions have been chafing over being curbed by the previous administration’s Department of Justice […] which, by means of pattern-or-practice investigations and consent decrees, started to put the brakes on racist police violence.”

But on deeper analysis, Taylor added, “the order can be read as an official authorization, from one white supremacist — Steve Bannon — to another — Jeff Sessions — to pursue the most racist and reactionary criminal legal policies in recent memory.”

“Within the rubric of that declaration,” Taylor writes, is a sinister plot that the attorney is all too familiar with. That executive order essentially “takes aim at protesters,” Taylor states — Fred’s ideological descendants if you will.

They include Black Lives Matter protestors, the protestors at Standing Rock, “people protesting against the Muslim ban and many others who practice acts of civil disobedience that bring them into conflict with law enforcement.”

In his article written last year on Fred’s death, Taylor urges readers “not to relegate the Hampton assassination and COINTELPRO to the annals of history,” before referencing a 1964 FBI directive.

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Part of the text of President Donald Trump’s Feb. 9 executive order. 

“Over the years,” the directive states, “our approach to investigative problems in the intelligence field has given rise to a number of new programs, some of which have been most revolutionary, and it can be presumed that with a continued aggressive approach to these programs, new and product ideas will be forthcoming.

“These ideas will not be increased in number or improved upon from the standpoint of accomplishments merely through the institution of a program such as COINTELPRO which is given another name and in fact, only encompasses everything that has been done in the past or will be done in the future.”

For those who would resist — in the vein of Fred Hampton and other black radicals and even non-violent dissenters like King — that future “may well be upon us again,” Taylor writes. “The only answer now, as it was then, is to organize, educate and resist.”

During his Rotary remarks, there was more to Taylor’s story about those boxes he happened upon in his law office basement. They not only included a story of injustice. They also included stories of courage and resistance, particularly by Maywood residents.

“I also found down there a trial transcript,” Taylor said. “One that I thought was missing. It was from a trial that took place right here in Maywood in 1969. An intimidated African-American judge sentenced Fred Hampton to 2 to 5 years in the penitentiary for robbing an ice cream truck out here, which Fred professed not to have done. He even had an alibi, but he was convicted by a predominantly white jury.”

Taylor said that the trial transcript included the names of Maywood residents “who stepped up” to testify on Fred’s behalf when “it wasn’t popular in this community to do so.”

Those names included Delores Smith, Walter Allen, Bernice Brown, Ella Mitchell and James Sykes, Taylor said. Then Don Williams called on his fellow Rotarians to summon the courage of those witnesses to fight today’s battles.

“Mr. Taylor made a point,” Williams said, referencing the attorney’s insistence on considering Fred’s assassination as less a strict history lesson than a guidepost to inform present dissent. “Each one of us has the opportunity to stand up and step up and assert ourselves in some capacity.” VFP

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In Maywood, Community Leaders Lament President Barack Obama’s Departure

President Barack Obama delivers his Farewell Address on Jan. 10 in Chicago. | Getty Images/Bloomberg

Thursday, January 12, 2017 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

On Thursday afternoon, Maywood Park District Commissioner Bill Hampton was still basking in the reflected glow of President Barack Obama’s Farewell Address, delivered two days earlier on Jan. 10 before a crowd of around 18,000 people in Chicago’s McCormick Place.

Hampton had been given two tickets to the historic speech — one for himself and another for his mother, Iberia, who died last October at the age 94. Hampton took his sister in his late mother’s place.

“I thought the speech was really good,” Hampton said during a regular meeting of the Maywood-Proviso Rotary Club, held Jan. 12 inside of the Meal of the Day Cafe, located on the fourth floor of Eisenhower Tower, 1701 S. 1st Ave.

“I thought it would be a little longer, but it was good. With all that’s going on in Chicago, I thought him being here would help us with our problems,” Hampton said. “I was glad to get invited.”

During the Rotary meeting — which featured a speech by Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, a former foreign minister for Liberia who is running for president of that country — numerous civic leaders shared their thoughts on the country Obama inherited and the one he’ll be leaving behind.

“I loved his presidency from beginning to end,” said former village trustee, former village clerk and Rotarian Gary Woll. “That doesn’t mean I didn’t think, at times, that he should’ve pushed harder or sooner on things. My wife and I cried a little bit when we were watching the speech in our home. It was like a campaign rally.”

Woll said that he was proud that his north Maywood neighborhood voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton, Obama’s preferred successor, by nearly 90 percent over Republican Donald Trump.

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Maywood-Proviso Rotary Club President-elect Talei Thompson interviews Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, whose running for president of Liberia, during a Rotary meeting Thursday afternoon. | Michael Romain/VFP

“That was the exact same percentage Obama received on the north side of Maywood four years ago,” Woll said.

Debra Vines, the executive director and founder of The Answer, Inc., the autism awareness nonprofit, was among many civic leaders who praised Obama’s performance over his two terms.

“He did a lot for people with disabilities,” Vines said, adding to the accomplishments voiced by others.

“He made so much progress,” said Rotarian Karen Thompson. “So much has improved over the last eight years. Unemployment went down and the economy has shown so much improvement.”

Barbara Cole, the founder and executive director of Maywood Youth Mentoring, said that, although she was encouraged by the president’s passion for community involvement, she was also disappointed by his inaction on an issue close to her heart.

“I was disappointed that he didn’t create a commission to study the impact of slavery on African Americans,” Cole said. “I was hoping he would announce it in his farewell speech. Hopefully, he’ll still do it.”

If there were other areas where the nation’s first black president failed, it wasn’t for a lack of trying, said some leaders.

“The Republicans have not said a positive word about him,” said Maywood author Mary Morris, who recently published a new calendar book called “Kings and Queens of Ancient and Modern Africa.”

Morris said she’s currently working on an essay about how two Republican politicians, in particular, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio — both of whom ran for president last year in the Republican Primary — have treated the outgoing Democratic president.

“Everything that comes out of their mouths about Obama is ugly,” Morris said. “They don’t know what they’re doing to their grandchildren. Obama’s presidency, I think, has been awesome. My dad worked for General Motors and Obama brought that company back from the brink and some people still can’t say a single good word about him.”

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Barbara Cole and Mary Morris during a Jan. 12 Rotary meeting. | Michael Romain/VFP

Leonor Sanchez, the deputy clerk for Broadview, reinforced Morris’s opinions about Republican efforts to block Obama’s agenda.

“He was the hope,” she said. “He tried his best to implement as many things as possible, but he was bombarded with people constantly trying to block his agenda.”

Alexander Gbayee, Liberia’s former Consul General in Chicago, said that he recalls Obama’s days on the South Side, when the future president was still just a rising community organizer. The years that have been marked by the president’s rise, Gbayee said, are ones that people of African descent all over can take pride in.

“We’re very, very proud of him,” Gbayee said. “While he was in office, he didn’t make us feel shame in any way. He’s a very brilliant person and he carried himself in a dignified way. All black people should be proud of him. It’s a loss, but I think we’ve made some progress. He brought us as blacks to the table. I hate to see him go. I don’t know what will happen once Trump takes over.”

Ngafuan touted Rotary International’s motto of “service above self” as a possible antidote to a world marred by self-interest, corruption and greed.

“Whether in public or private service,” Ngafuan said, “ I believe our world can be a better place for a critical mass of people. I move to light the candle wherever we see darkness; for as Martin Luther King once said, ‘The time is always right to do the right thing.’” VFP

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BRIEFLY: Maywood, Triton to Unveil Christmas Trees | More Mayoral Race Intrigue | The Hamptons Earn More Praise | More

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Monday, November 28, 2016 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews

After searching throughout the village, the Maywood Environmental and Beautification Commission has found a Christmas tree, a spruce, to display during the Christmas season.

The tree, donated by Maywood resident Lawrence Sparks, will be the centerpiece of a tree lighting ceremony on Dec. 5, from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., at the corner of 5th Ave. and St. Charles.

The ceremony will feature numerous special guests, including Pastor Elliot Wimbush of First Congregational Church of Maywood, who will lead participants in carols; storytelling by Kim Davidson; face painting; the Proviso East drama team and band; the Second Baptist children’s choir; and more.

Triton kicks off Festival of Trees

Triton College is seeking people to sponsor Christmas trees on behalf of municipalities, business, organizations and individuals for its annual Holiday Festival of Trees on Dec. 2, from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., on the Triton College Mounds, located on the west side of the campus, 2000 S. 5th Ave., River Grove.

Interested sponsors can decorate their trees from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1. On Dec. 2, participants will be treated to hot chocolate, cookies, holiday music and a photo booth during the event. They’ll also be able to take in a free holiday show at the Cernan Center.

Take a photo of your tree and share it with the college using the hashtag #DeckTheMounds.

Each lighted tree is $150, with proceeds to benefit the student scholarships through the Triton College Foundation. For more information call (708) 456-0300, Ext. 3165/3172 or click here.

Mother Hampton receives posthumous resolution from Springfield

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Iberia Hampton, middle, and her son Bill, left, cut a ribbon before the opening of the Fred Hampton Family Aquatic Center. | File

Illinois State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) introduced a House Resolution earlier this month honoring the life of Iberia Hampton, the mother of famed civil rights activist and Black Panther leader Fred Hampton.

Mother Hampton died on Oct. 16 at the age of 94. In October, the Cook County Board of Commissioners presented its own resolution honoring Hampton’s life during a regular board meeting.

Hampton’s son, Maywood Park District Commissioner Bill Hampton, received an honor of his own by the Maywood Police Department during a board meeting in October.

Hampton, along with the late Mayor Joe Freelon, who served as Maywood’s first African American mayor for four terms throughout the 1980s and 1990s, was honored as the department’s Citizen of the Year.

The department award lauded Hampton for his efforts in continuing “progressive and unique programs” and in the development of “new and innovative projects” for Maywood.

To read the full House Resolution, click here.

Mayor’s race getting more crowded

With just weeks to go before candidates are required to turn in petitions in order to get on the ballot for the April 4, 2017 election, more names are popping up as possible candidates for Maywood mayor.

Sitting Mayor Edwenna Perkins, former mayor and sitting trustee Henderson Yarbrough, sitting trustee Antonette Dorris and liquor commissioner Mary “May” Larry have all announced their intentions to run for the mayor’s seat in April.

Three more potential candidates — attorney Luther Spence, activist Quincy Johnson and community leader Billy Fowlkes — have been named as possible contenders, although they have yet to formally announce.

First Congregational Church seeking new occupants

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Maywood Fine Arts dancers rehearsing inside of First Congregational Church earlier this year. | Spooner Bauman

Maywood’s First Congregational Church, 400 N. 5th Ave., is seeking new occupants to share its space with. For the past five years, the church shared space with Maywood Fine Arts, which has since moved into a new dance studio down the street.

“There are many hours in the week when church activities are not taking place and our simple, but spacious home may work for someone,” church officials noted.

“We are open to ideas and can be fair and flexible with terms.  We are seeking to be good stewards of our church home and not waste any of our assets.”

For more information, call (708) 3344-6150.

Maywood fire chief appeals to residents to obtain working fire, carbon monoxide alarms

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Maywood Fire Chief Craig Bronaugh released a statement on the appropriate methods for staying safe during the winter season.

“Because the cold season is approaching, we will soon find ourselves having to both initiate and maintain efforts to keep warm in our homes,” he wrote.

“Sometimes accidents do happen. Because of this possibility, as Fire Chief of Maywood, I am making a personal appeal to every Maywood Village Resident to ensure that you do indeed have present and operating smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your place of residence.

“The devices are not expensive and can be found at local neighborhood stores. The presence and proper operations of both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can notify and protect residents from the devastation resulting from fire and carbon monoxide.

“Thank you, be safe and enjoy the upcoming holiday season!” VFP

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Hundreds Remember Iberia Hampton, Mother to Fred and Everyone Else

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Iberia Hampton, far left, with her oldest son William Hampton, center, and Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., during a 1971 news conference. | John Filo/Associated Press | Below: Hundreds crowd into the Maywood Park District’s gymnasium to remember Iberia Hampton, who died last week at the age of 94. 

Hampton .jpgSunday, October 23, 2016 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews

A crowd of at least 100 people packed the gymnasium inside of the Maywood Park District, 921 S. 9th Ave., on Sunday to remember Iberia Hampton — the mother of Black Panther icon and Maywood native son Fred Hampton — who died on Oct. 16 at the age of 94.

Her oldest son, Maywood Park District Commissioner William “Bill” Hampton, said that his mother had been recuperating from a stroke at the time of her death, which reverberated well beyond Maywood — the Hampton family’s home since 1958.

Jeffrey Haas, the Hampton family’s attorney for more than four decades and who spoke briefly at the Oct. 23 memorial service, said that people are invoking the Hamptons rather often nowadays.

Haas said he’d just returned from a ceremony in Oakland commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Black Panthers — the black nationalist political organization that was founded in 1968 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale and for which Fred served as Illinois chapter president.

“Iberia’s and Fred’s names were mentioned quite a few times [in Oakland],” said Haas, the author of “The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther.”

A year after Fred’s infamous assassination on Dec. 4, 1969 by Chicago police officers, Haas and a team of attorneys, which included Flint Taylor and James Montgomery, brought a $47.7 million lawsuit against Cook County State’s Attorney Edward V. Hanrahan, and other local and federal officials.

Hanrahan authorized the police raid that resulted in Hampton’s murder. Another Black Panther leader, Mark Clark, was also killed in the raid, which authorities claimed was conducted in order to search for illegal weapons.

The case was initially dismissed by a federal district court, but the attorneys appealed the decision all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided 5-3 in 1980 to send the case back to the lower courts for a new trial.

In 1982, the city, county and federal governments agreed to a $1.85 million settlement to be distributed among nine plaintiffs, including Iberia and the mother of Clark.

“Iberia was a mama to so many,” said Taylor at Sunday’s memorial service. “She was my second mother. She was Jeff’s second mother. And she stood with myself, Jeff and Jim when we tried to bring justice to her family. The strength and understanding she had — she gave some of it to all of us.”

“I canceled a four-day trip to Bermuda to be here,” said Montgomery, “and I’d do it 10 more times to be here … Fred Hampton was Iberia’s legacy and a freedom fighter who was second to none.”

Montgomery, who said he was deeply influenced by, and admired, Fred, said that the slain activist died fighting “for a cause that’s never going to die.”

Steward for justice

Iberia Beatrice Hampton was born on Feb. 5, 1922 to Elihue and Lizzie White in Haynesville, Louisiana. She was the oldest of the couple’s four children.

Haas writes in his 2009 book that the families of Iberia and her husband, Francis Allen Hampton, “farmed the land their great-grandparents had worked as slaves.”

In the 1930s, Francis moved to the Chicago area seeking opportunity. He found a job at the Corn Products Refining Company in Argo, a southwest side suburb.

While Francis worked, Iberia stayed home to care for their three children — William, Delores and Fred. In Argo, she would sometimes babysit a “curious and quite rambunctious” child nicknamed Bobo, whom Iberia called “a handful,” according to Haas.

In August 1955, Bobo, whose birth name was Emmett Louis Till, would be found dead in the Tallahatchie River in Mississippi, his body — beaten and bloated beyond recognition — tied with barbed wire to a cotton-gin. He had allegedly whistled at a white woman, invoking the wrath of the woman’s husband.

Maywood Park District Commissioner Bill Hampton and mother Iberia Hampton

“I couldn’t stand going to his funeral and seeing him like that,” Iberia would tell Haas. “I wanted to remember him as the active and saucy kid I babysat for.”

Three years later, in 1958, the Hamptons moved to Maywood, where Fred attended Irving Elementary School (now Irving Middle School) and Proviso East High School.

“All the kids loved Fred,” Iberia told Haas. “And the teachers, too. Seems like he was never alone.”

Iberia recalled that Fred’s rhetorical promise was made clear in his deft ability to signify, or to jokingly insult other students, some of whom, Iberia recalled, teased Fred about his physical appearance.

“They called him peanut head and watermelon head,” Iberia told Haas. “He was upset for a while, but he learned to defend himself with words.”

Along with his way with words, Fred also showed a gift for bringing different people together. He would often herd the kids in the neighborhood into Iberia’s kitchen on weekends and they “would cook breakfast together for themselves and all of us,” she told Haas.

Before, and well after, her son’s death, Iberia’s kitchen on the 800 block of South 17th Ave. in Maywood, would often become the scene of political conversations — philosophical and strategic.

But they were more than armchair deliberations. Iberia’s own history of grassroots and workplace organizing may have helped inspire her famous son. 

When she eventually got a job with Corn Products in 1956 (“doing quality control on the bottles and caps as they came down the assembly line,” Haas writes), Iberia was selected to be a union steward. 

“I loved it,” she told Haas. “Once we cooked meals at the Union Hall for over seven hundred people, every day during a two-month strike.” 

During Sunday’s memorial service, mourners still salivated at the thought of Iberia’s meals, which she would fix for the activists, entertainers, politicians and everyday people who would make regular sojourns to her Maywood home.

Her oldest son Bill, who has shepherded his younger brother’s legacy since the latter’s death in 1969, would host regular political and social gatherings contoured by his mother’s cooking.

“I don’t think there’s been a year that’s gone by that I’m not spending time in the Hampton home,” said U.S. Congressman Danny K. Davis (7th) at Sunday’s memorial. “Mrs. Hampton was an activist, a mother and a tremendous cook.”

Relative Martha Allen recalled Iberia’s peach cobbler, banana pudding, collard greens, fried fish and other southern fare.

“Everyday was Thanksgiving at her house,” said Allen.

Everyday at Iberia’s was also a continuance of the struggle that claimed the life of her son. Davis said the Hamptons would regularly produce a list of “progressive people running for office” in the community, so that area voters could “select who they thought were best fit for office.”

Among those officeholders who made trips to the Hampton’s home were state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (7th) and Cook County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough.

“I spoke with her many times and she’d always tell me we all had to be the change we want to see in this community,” said Welch, who noted that he shares a birthday with Iberia.

“I called her mama,” said Yarbrough, among the legions of people who claim filial kinship to the widely known matriarch. “She told it like it is.”

“She was a fighter until the end,” said Allen, recalling her visits with Iberia in the matriarch’s final days. At 94, and bedridden, she was still strong enough to give orders, that indomitable will that once coursed through her son unabated. 

“That’s what we need in our communities,” Allen said. “There’s no giving up if you want change to come about.” VFP

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Services Scheduled for Iberia Hampton

Maywood Park District Commissioner Bill Hampton and mother Iberia Hampton

Iberia Hampton with her oldest son Bill Hampton. | File 

Monday, October 17, 2016 || By Community Editor || @maywoodnews || UPDATED: 10/18/16

A memorial service for Iberia Hampton, the mother of slain Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, is set to take place this Sunday, her oldest son, Maywood Park District Commissioner Bill Hampton, noted on his Facebook page.

Iberia died in her Maywood home on Sunday at the age of 94, her children confirmed. She had reportedly been recovering from a stroke she’d suffered months earlier.

Bill said that her body would be flown back to her native Louisiana, where her husband is buried.

Visitations will be held at Wallace Funeral Home, 2020 W. Roosevelt Rd., in Broadview on Friday, Oct. 21 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Saturday, Oct.22, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

A memorial service will take place on Sunday, Oct. 23, from 1:30 pm. to 5 p.m., at the Maywood Park District headquarters, 921 S. 9th Ave., in Maywood. VFP

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