An excerpt from From Ike to Mao and Beyond—My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, a memoir by Bob Avakian

Fred Hampton’s Legacy



The following is an excerpt from From Ike to Mao and Beyond—My Journey from Mainstream America to Revolutionary Communist, a memoir by Bob Avakian, chapter 13, pages 264-265

Fred Hampton was from Maywood, and he had led the Panthers in the Chicago area. I had followed very closely the whole outrage when he, along with Mark Clark, was murdered by the pigs in Chicago in December 1969. The newspapers and the authorities had put out this story that the Panthers were the aggressors, that they’d fired on the police and the police were only firing back in self-defense. But then the Panthers led tours of people through the apartment where Fred Hampton and Mark Clark were shot, showing that all the bullet holes were made by bullets coming from the outside in, and that what the police and media claimed were bullet holes from inside out were actually nail holes, and things like that.

I was very aware of and I had tremendous respect for Fred Hampton, though I knew him, so to speak, more from a distance, as compared to the relationship that I had with leaders of the Panthers like Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, and Eldridge Cleaver. When I got to Chicago, I discovered, not surprisingly, that all the comrades in the RU had been tremendously influenced and inspired by Fred Hampton and, of course, tremendously devastated by the way in which he was murdered. This was one of the strengths of the RU comrades in that area. Even though we had developed differences with the Panthers, the influence of Fred Hampton was a very positive one overall. He would openly proclaim that he was an all-the-way proletarian revolutionary — he would popularize that stance. By the time I moved to the Chicago area, it was several years after he had been murdered, and the Panther organization wasn’t at the high point that it had been while he was alive, although there were still Panthers in that area, and there were some people who had been in the Panthers who either joined the RU or worked very closely with it.

Of course, it wasn’t just the RU comrades in that area, but many, many people throughout the country had been moved by Fred Hampton and had made a leap in their revolutionary commitment because of his influence — the whole way in which, before he was killed, he boldly put forward: “You can kill a revolutionary, but you can’t kill the revolution.” When people saw how he was just shot down in cold blood by the police, this caused even more people to make the leap to becoming revolutionaries.

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