The Murder of Fred Hampton
Restored 35mm Print
Martin is the Alexander F. & May T. Morrison Professor of American History & Citizenship at UC Berkeley. His most recent book, coauthored with Joshua Bloom, is Black Against Empire: The History and Politics of the Black Panther Party.
Intending to chronicle the newly formed Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party, the filmmakers 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 on December 4, 1969, in which another Panther also died. Drawing on footage of the shot-up apartment and interviews with Black Panthers, Michael Gray and Howard Alk 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. Forty-five years later, The Murder of Fred Hampton remains an urgent and powerful political documentary.