An inspirational and educational mural of revered Black Panther Party icon Fred Hampton has been revamped.
A new mural has been painted in Garfield Park honoring the legacy of activist and revolutionary Fred Hampton. The original mural of the Illinois Black Panther Party chairman was painted back in 2010 by Dasic Fernandez and commissioned by Hampton’s son Fred Hampton Jr and the Chilean political hip hop duo Rebel Diaz. Since the mural has been deteriorating over the last decade, the same collaboration that organized the creation of the first Hampton mural 10 years ago felt it was the right time to breathe new life back into the iconic piece.
The new mural by Bronx artist Andre Trenier comes as the country reckons with similar racial injustice issues as it did all those years ago and according to Fred Hampton Jr, everything about the mural and its creation process is heavily politicized. The faces found on the mural are facing westward, intentionally looking away from Downton to symbolize that Fred Hampton’s legacy belongs to the residents of West Side Chicago. People who hadn’t previously known about the Black Panthers began asking questions about the struggle for equality after seeing the piece go up Hampton Jr. said. “The mural gives neighborhood youth real people from their community who they can draw strength and wisdom from.”
Born on August 30, 1948, Frederick Hampton was the third child to Francis and Iberia Hampton. He rose to prominence in his teen years and became chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party and deputy chairman of the national Black Panther Party. He is also credited with founding the Rainbow coalition, a multicultural organization that united prominent Chicago groups fighting against oppression and racial inequality as well as several major street gangs. In 1967 an illegal FBI operation seeking to prevent “the rise of a messiah” saw Hampton as a radical threat and two years later at the age of 21, he was assassinated in a police raid as he slept next to his fiancé Akua Njeri.
The new mural is found at the same spot as the last on 2746 W. Madison St at the intersection of California Avenue and Madison Street. Hampton, one of the most revered people in the neighborhood’s history, is now joined by other activists including his widow Akua Njeri, Ronald “Doc” Satchel who was injured in the police raid, and Defense Captain Mark Clark who died alongside Hampton in what locally became known as ‘the Massacre on Monroe’.
The artist behind the new mural Andre Trenier stated that “It’s not just public art, it’s an invitation to learn. Often we remember the figure that had the name, that had the charisma … but there’s always a group behind that person to give that person strength. You see their faces and you see the light in their eyes and it changes things.”
A Save the Hampton House Campaign is currently seeking landmark status for Chairman Fred Hampton’s childhood home with a $350,000 aim. As of October 2020, the campaign was halfway to its target. Donations can be made to help preserve Hampton and Clark’s legacy at GoFundMe.com/f/SaveTheHamptonHouse50.