African American Heritage

Fred Hampton (August 30, 1948 - December 4, 1969)

Fred Hampton was an active leader in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), leading their Youth Council of the organization’s West Suburban Branch. Hampton joined the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP) in November 1968. He quickly rose to a leadership position, becoming the deputy chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Party. He organized rallies, established a Free Breakfast program, and negotiated a peace pact among rival gangs. As a rising leader in the BPP, Hampton became the focus of an FBI investigation. On December 4, 1969, Hampton, along with fellow Black Panther Mark Clark, was murdered.

On the evening of December 3, 1969, William O’Neal, who was employed by the FBI to infiltrate the BPP, slipped a powerful sleeping drug into Hampton’s drink then left.  Officers were dispatched to raid his apartment. They stormed in and opened fire, killing his security guard. Then they opened fire on Hampton’s bedroom where he laid unconscious from the drug with his sleeping, almost nine-month-pregnant fiancee. After the gunfire, he was found to only be wounded and not dead. Upon that discovery, an officer shot him twice in his head and killed him. The remaining seven Panthers who were not killed were all arrested and indicted by a grand jury on charges of attempted murder, armed violence, and a variety of weapons charges. These charges were eventually dropped when during a later investigation, it was discovered that Chicago Police fired ninety-nine shots while the Panthers only shot once. 

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Selected Records Relating to Fred Hampton

RG 21: Records of the District Courts

Civil Case Files, 1938 - 2003

RG 60: Records of the Department of Justice

Class 144 (Civil Rights) Litigation Case Files, 1936-1997 (NAID 603432)

144-23-971 [Murder of Fred Hampton and Mark Clark (1969)]

RG 65: Records of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Motion Picture Films and Video Recordings, ca. 1936 - ca. 1985                                                                                                                                                 

Classification 44 (Civil Rights) Headquarters Case Files

Classification 157 (Civil Unrest) Case Files [Portland, Oregon]

RG 453: Records of the US Commission on Civil Rights

Correspondence and Communications Files, 1959 - 1978 (NAID 1078541)