My Reel of the week is a documentary from 1971 called "The murder of Fred Hampton" Fred Hampton was a young college educated Black man who was murdered by New York City policemen while sleeping with his pregnant girlfriend at a Black Panther Party owned building. Fred's purpose in life was to be the voice of the disenfranchised people, in other words listen up Occupy Wall Street people , back in the 1960's we knew all about being the 99%. Fred started out as a deeply committed member of the NAACP until after the assassination of Martin Luther King. Seeing what this Country has done to non-violent leaders he started to feel that Americans needed to take up arms to protect themselves from the police.
The Back Panther Party was all about empowerment and Civil Rights and uplifting people, (the arming of members was where they went pear-shaped, police tend to get antsy and trigger happy, when they think of the angry and disenfranchised having guns) The BPP,marched for equality, started free clincs and breakfast programs for school children. believing that Solidarity starts by nourishing people from the inside out.
The New york City police department wanted to put an end to the BPP, which represented to them a challenge to power structure of America. So how do you do that? You kill the leader and hope the organization will scatter. That leader was Fred Hampton whose prophetic words foretold his fate: "I believe I'm going to die doing the things I was born to do. I believe I'm going to die high off the people. I believe I'm going to die a revolutionary in the international revolutionary proletarian struggle"
All through the documentary listening to his impassioned , ardent speeches, I kept having to remind myself that Fred Hampton was only 21 years old. Had he been allowed to live, what else could he have accomplished.
The New York city policemen who murdered Fred Hampton were cleared of any wrong doing by a grand jury. The Family of Fred Hampton filed a civil law suit. A reenactment and second look at the physical evidence also statements from the other BPP victims proved that Fred was sleeping at the time of his murder. The suit was finally settled in 1990 and the family was awarded an undisclosed amount.
I recommend this documentary for not only the 99%, but everyone. Because the struggle continues.