The presence of Fred Hampton Sr., the Black Panther Party leader who was shot and killed by the police and FBI in his sleep on Dec. 4, 1969, looms large in Chicago’s West Side.
A mural painted on the wall of a three-story building that was once the headquarters of the Black Panther organization and later the district office of the U.S. representative Danny K. Davis pays tribute to Hampton and helps bring attention to the work that he did, according to his son Fred Hampton Jr.
The mural, completed about a decade ago, has the words “Chairman Fred” written alongside his portrait.
Hampton worked to foster peace among rival gangs within the Black Panther Party, some with a militant Marxist edge that drew the attention of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies during the civil rights era.
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Just days before he died, Hampton was offered a position as party chief of staff and national spokesman by the party’s national leadership. The night of the raid, authorities claim to have found 19 guns and more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition.
The Black Panther members have a long history of using murals to express their cause. The organization’s imagery reached a peak during the riots of the late 1960s and the early ’70s.
Another mural of Hampton Sr.’s face crying tears of blood appeared on a crumbling brick wall along Hoyne Avenue, two blocks from where he was killed.