This Day in History

Dec. 4, 1969: Black Panther Party Members Assassinated

Time Periods: 1961
Themes: African American, Racism & Racial Identity

Fred Hampton, a leader of Chicago’s Black Panther Party who was killed during an FBI-sponsored police raid.

You can jail a revolutionary, but you can’t jail the revolution.

On Dec. 4, 1969, Black Panther Party members Fred Hampton, 21, and Mark Clark, 22, were shot to death by 14 police officers as they lay sleeping in their Chicago apartment.

While authorities claimed the Panthers had opened fire on the police who were there to serve a search warrant, evidence later emerged that the FBI (as part of COINTELPRO), the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, and the Chicago police conspired to assassinate Fred Hampton.

Learn about about Hampton’s childhood (including a connection to Mamie Till), organizing, and murder from this tweet thread by high school teacher and curriculum writer Ursula Wolfe-Rocca. (Click image to read full thread.)

Learn more from “The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther,” an interview with lawyer Jeffery Haas on Democracy Now!

Teach this history with the lessons and other resources listed below.