Maywood street statue honor slain Panther leader Hampton

Maywood street statue honor slain Panther leader Hampton

Maywood street, statue honor slain Panther leader Hampton,CST-NWS-hampton09.article

September 9, 2007
BY MONIFA THOMAS Staff Reporter/

From now on, Oak Street in Maywood will be known as Fred Hampton Way.

Relatives of the slain Black Panther leader joined congressmen, activists and Maywood residents Saturday to dedicate the street and a statue of Hampton that now sits in front of the Fred Hampton Family Aquatic Center.

Last year, efforts to name a street on Chicago's West Side for Hampton failed amid controversy that Hampton and the Panthers advocated violence against police.

But there was no such debate in Maywood, whose mayor, Henderson Yarbrough, said the village council "unanimously, proudly" voted to give Hampton his due.

"There ought to be some footprints in the sand in relation to this man," said the Rev. Al Sampson, one of about 75 people at the ceremony. "Fred Hampton represents part of the tradition of liberation freedom fighters."

Killed in police raid in '69 Maywood's police chief attended the event, along with U.S. Representatives Danny Davis and Bobby Rush, a co-founder of the Illinois Black Panther Party.

Hampton, who grew up in Maywood, and fellow Panther Mark Clark were gunned down by Chicago Police in a 1969 raid at Hampton's apartment. Hampton had helped bring the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party to national prominence and also brokered a nonaggression pact between gangs.

Because Hampton wanted to be a lawyer, a scholarship fund for black law students now bears his name, and several scholarship awards were given at Saturday's dedication.

Hampton's brother Bill Hampton said the statue and the street are an appropriate tribute to a man who fought for "justice, freedom and equality for all people."

Asked what she thought about the street, Hampton's mother, Iberia Hampton, said: "I love it."