Did You Know? Civil rights leader Fred Hampton was from IllinoisFred Hampton was born on August 30, 1948, in the Chicago suburb of Maywood. Right after high school he became heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement. He joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and eventually became the Youth Council President.

During his leadership, he managed to racially integrate a group of 500 young people who lobbied city officials. Their goal was to create better academic services and recreational facilities for African-American children.

Hampton joined the Black Panther Party in 1968. He is famous for negotiating a gang truce on local television and forming a coalition that included students from several different organizations. The Chicago Black Panther Party became very big in Chicago, and the FBI and Chicago Police Department placed the chapter under heavy surveillance.  

In 1969, 12 officers opened fire on the Black Panther Group and ended up killing 21-year-old Hampton and the Illinois Panther leader, Mark Clark. The attendance at his funeral was tallied at over 5,000 people, but it wasn’t until years later that law enforcement officials admitted any wrongdoing in his killing.

December 4 is now known as Fred Hampton Day.

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