The recent release of “Judas and the Black Messiah” has since motivated a surge in donations but there were clashes over several aspects including the film’s accuracy.
A GoFundMe effort called Save the Hampton House was set up in 2019 to “preserve, protect, and rehabilitate the childhood home of Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton.” After recently surpassing its goal of $350,000 nearly two years on, the Hampton family now has the funds required to turn the Maywood home into a community center, museum, and recording studio.
The two-story apartment building located at 804 S. 17th Avenue was bought by Fred Hampton’s parents in 1958 and has remained with the family ever since. Lead by Fred Hampton’s son, Fred Hampton Jr., the family has long sought to have the house designated a historic landmark protecting it against future sales or demolition and using it for educational services and community-focused activities.
According to Hampton Jr., the home will now be used to archive “the true history of the Black Panther Party.” In addition to a community garden that has already started, it will facilitate political educational programs, offer a meeting place for community development, and run a recording studio for music programs.
Donations came thick and fast after the film “Judas and the Black Messiah” was released last week. The film tells the story of Fred Hampton, the illegal FBI raid that culminated in his murder, and the role of Bill O’Neil referred to as ‘Judas’ in the title.
After rising to prominence in his teen years Hampton became chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party and deputy chairman of the national Black Panther Party. In 1967 an illegal FBI operation seeking to prevent “the rise of a messiah” identified 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.
Flurries of donations ranging from $5 to $1000 helped push the GoFundMe over its original target after the films release and two anonymous donors in the last month gave $8,000 and $5,000 respectively. The film undoubtedly brought new attention to the efforts of the Hampton family to preserve Fred Hampton’s legacy but collaboration between family and filmmakers seems more opaque than first meets the eye.