The Murder of Fred Hampton

The Murder of Fred Hampton

DVD - 2007
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Mike Gray started out to make a film about the Black Panther Party, but on Dec. 4, 1969, the Chicago police raided a Panther apartment and his film became a documentary about the murder of Fred Hampton, chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. The film footage of the raid directly contradicted the State Attorney's version of the raid and so filmmakers and Panthers came together to prove that Hampton had been the designated target of the violent, punitive raid. The film's inquiry pursues official spokesmen and traps them in their attempts at covering up an orchestrated assassination.
Publisher: Chicago, Ill. : Facets Multimedia, c2007
ISBN: 9781565805224
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (88 min.) : sd., b&w ; 4 3/4 in
Alternative Title: Cicero March


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Aug 26, 2018

Only gave this DVD 3 stars—if you know nothing about Fred Hampton you won’t learn much about him from this DVD. Fred Hampton was the chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party (BPP). He was noted as an eloquent speaker for the party’s ideals. Hampton met his end in a shootout with the Chicago police (actually Hampton was in bed at the time). The DVD focuses on whether Hampton was murdered by the police. I thought this DVD could have benefited from some narration setting up and explaining the situation. Early on there are a number of people talking without any indication of who they are (I think it is primarily Hampton himself.) There is no reference to the FBI’s investigation into the BPP and Hoover’s obsession with the Black Panthers. The Black Panthers evolved in the 1960s advocating black identity after a long era of discrimination and repression in the United States. The BPP opted for a violent approach to their objective (heavily armed) which of course mitigated their political savvy and made them targets for law enforcement. Listening to Hampton praising Papa Doc in Haiti for his black nationalism comes across very dated since we know Papa Doc had a very repressive, totalitarism government, as well as BPP advocacy for a socialist, communist government versus the “white capitalist” structure in America. Seems a bit outdated and not well comprehended—is communism really the great egalitarian equalizer? Since we can look at the movement with hindsight we can form our own conclusions. Not sure if there is a good book or film about impact of the BPP. SPL does have a good DVD on the BPP made by PBS (titled The Black Panthers) but it doesn’t really address the impact of the movement. When we witness the quiet protests on the sidelines of the NFL today, we know the issues of race relations are still a major issue in the U.S.A today.

Aug 25, 2014

Mike Royko visited the apartment and wrote a full column on the shot-up apartment – He said that 99 shots came from the police and one shot came from inside the apartment and hit the ceiling. The police then fooled the Chicago Tribune into putting pictures on the front page with circles around supposed bullets in the door frame from the inside (towards the outside police). The Tribune then had to admit upon closer observation, the “bullets” were actually the nailheads holding the door frame, not bullets. Then the local news hour allowed the police to expound on their version of the raid in a mocked up apartment for 10 to 20 minutes without commercial interruption (unprecedented). Per Mike Royko, the whole 10 to 20 minutes was one big lie. Caught in lying about the killing, the leader of the raid, Hanrahan, had to drop out of the race for office. The Democrats, led by the older racist mayor Daley, had to scramble for a replacement against the Republican. They had only a day to get signatures, so they had city workers spend the day forging tens of thousands of signatures to get the Democratic replacement on the ballot. It idn't work, as the Black Democrats refused to vote for the killer party, so the Republican beat the Democrat in the election, a rarity in the Democratic controlled Cook County. Years later, the gov't settled for $1.85 million to the raid survivors.


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