Wednesday, December 4, 2013
FRED HAMPTON R.I.P.
Originally claiming they were only returning fire, it was immediately clear by the evidence that the only shots fired had been from the police, though of course they tried to cover it up.
I wanted to type up a poem I wrote on the day it happened, but it was only published in one of my smaller books (Stupid Rabbits I think), the only copy of which is in my archives at the NYU library and I don't have easy access to it at the moment.
So let me just say, it was one of the most egregious displays of the misuse of the police and the FBI ever in this country. But also a perfect example of what happens when the police—local, state and national—are used for political ends rather than for what they are meant for, to protect and serve.
This wasn't like more recent murders of young black men by police, where the police were simply too frightened and ill-trained and dumb to recognize the mistake they were making. This was a planned assassination.
Hampton did nothing but help people. He was a really sweet cat, and young. Only 21. I met him when he was 19, and he was just an intelligent, caring and gentle soul in my experience. He remains one of the unforgettable martyrs for peace and justice, an icon of my 1960s, and a reminder that no matter what, we have to stay alert to injustice and fight it as much as we are able.