Fred Hampton’s vision for the future was clear. The iconic revolutionary wanted solidarity amongst the people and an end to oppression and racism against people of color. While he left the earth at the age of 21 after he was assassinated by the FBI and Chicago police, his mission and role in the Black Panther Party live through activists and musicians of today.
His speeches often heard in bits through YouTube and revolutionary social pages, remind us of his captivating oratory, often mimicked in jest and respect. “He was such a public speaker,” said Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush, who recruited Hampton to join the Black Panthers. “There was a kind of quiet competition between him and Jesse Jackson back in 1969.”
Vocal and poetic warriors like The Last Poets like Gill Scot Heron arrived during Hampton’s battle, planting hip-hop’s early seeds of consciousness that can be heard today. Our world of black musical leaders is slightly different these days. Artists like Mr. Carter, Kendrick Lamar, Common and many more have unfolded the envelope by speaking out against civil injustices. Jay’s connection to Hampton might be morbid as he was born the day the icon was killed, but the rap mogul has flexed righteous raps and efforts that include supporting Meek Mill’s current battle against the criminal justice system, crafting the critically acclaimed TIME: The Kalief Browder Story and calling out industry gatekeepers one by one.
With December 4th being a day of celebration and remembrance, take a look at some of the most powerful quotes by Fred Hampton and Jay-Z below.