messiah-fred-hampton-bear-trap-theatre-paula-b-stanic-stratford-circus 1

6 Things You Need to Know About the 'Black Messiah', Fred Hampton

Born on 30th August, 1948 he was just 21 years old when he died

Highly intelligent and a natural leader, he studied law after graduating high school but after seeing the injustices that African Americans in the 1960s experienced he set about organising a youth group within the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) to improve opportunities and resources available to African American communities.

He was a prominent member of the Black Panther Party, founding the Chicago chapter of the movement

At the time of his death he was a rapidly-rising star in the Black Panther Party. Thanks to his charisma and organisational skills, he was on track to become a member of the party’s Central Committee as Chief of Staff – a national post.

He brokered various nonaggression pacts between gangs in Chicago

One of Hampton’s greatest achievements was to persuade Chicago’s most powerful street gangs to stop fighting against each other. He was instrumental in forming the ‘rainbow coalition’ – a multi-racial alliance that aimed to put an end to conflict amongst street gangs and lift poor communities out of poverty.

The activities of the Black Panthers were seen as a threat to prominent politicians

J. Edgar Hoover described the Panthers as “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and under his direction the police raided the Panther Party’s headquarters several times. The BPP attracted the attention of the FBI, Chicago Police, the Cook County State’s Attorney Office and more and even the FBI’s own paid informant reported to Hoover that the bulk of their activity actually just involved feeding hungry school children.

Hampton took a peaceful approach to resolving conflict

Despite conflict between the Black Panthers and police, this was not from Hampton’s section of the party, stating “The Black Panther Party stood up and said that we don’t care what anybody says. We don’t think fighting fire with fire is best. We think fighting fire with water is best.”

In the early hours of the 4th December 1969 he was fatally shot and killed by Chicago PD officers

Under the pretext that there were illegal guns in the apartment, officers raided the apartment Hampton was sleeping in, shooting him at point blank range. The surviving Black Panthers in the apartment were later charged with aggravated assault, attempted murder and armed violence. However after forensic testing found that only one bullet had been fired by the Panthers, whereas nearly one hundred came from police guns, these charges were dropped.


Messiah

Messiah is an explosive new play from Fringe First winners Bear Trap Theatre and Alfred Fagon Award-winner Paula B. Stanic, exploring the forgotten legacy of the ‘Black Messiah’ and the revolutionary power of young people.

Wed 27 - Sat 30 Nov 2019
Book Now >>

Messiah

Wed 27 - Sat 30 Nov 2019

Book Now >>