The Murder of Fred Hampton
Restored 35mm Print
Melissa Charles is the assistant director for African American Student Development at UC Berkeley.
It’s the rare film that decades later can seem as timely as it was the day it came out. The searing documentary The Murder of Fred Hampton is such a film.Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
Intending to chronicle the newly formed Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party, Michael Gray and Howard Alk documented founder Fred Hampton interacting with the Black community for nearly a year. The dynamic twenty-one-year-old inspired with his rallying cry, “I am a revolutionary,” but his statement “I believe I will be able to die as a revolutionary” proved disturbingly prescient. He was shot dead in his bed during a police raid in which another Panther also died on December 4, 1969. Drawing on footage of the shot-up apartment and interviews with Black Panthers, the filmmakers created an incendiary exposé of the Chicago police force’s role in Hampton’s murder, rebutting the arguments of the Illinois State Attorney and the official police version of events. Fifty years later, The Murder of Fred Hampton remains an urgent and powerful political documentary.