Activist Fred Hampton was a visionary who embodied the essence of Black resilience. Nearly 53 years after his untimely demise, measures have been taken to ensure the Black Panther Party chairman’s storied legacy is preserved. According to the Chicago Tribune, Hampton’s childhood home has been deemed a historical landmark.
The residence—which is nestled in Chicago’s Maywood community—is where the revolutionary spent his formative years. Hampton’s family purchased the two-story house in 1958. It was in the historic home where he discovered his passion for social change. As a teenager, Hampton attended Proviso East High School and immersed himself in the civil rights movement. As a member of the Junior NAACP, he led the mobilization of 500 young activists who pushed elected officials to cultivate equitable learning environments and recreational outlets for Black youth.
In 1968, Hampton got involved with the Black Panther Party and spearheaded the creation of the Rainbow Coalition; a collective of groups—including the Young Lords, Students for a Democratic Society and the Blackstone Rangers—that were on the frontlines fighting for social justice. He later served as the chairman of the Black Panthers, leading community impact-focused programs that were built on the pillars of education and empowerment. He led initiatives centered on combating food insecurity, addressing racial inequities in healthcare and mass incarceration.
Hampton was murdered on December 4, 1969, by Chicago police during an early morning raid. His legacy lives on through generations of changemakers who have dedicated their work to addressing racial injustice.
Hampton’s childhood residence—which was an integral part of his journey—will be transformed into a museum dubbed the Hampton House. It will harbor photos, heirlooms and documents that collectively illustrate his fight for liberation. The Maywood Village Board recently voted to officially give the home a historic distinction.
“The fight to save and maintain the Hampton House is bigger than a building and more significant than a structure,” his son Fred Hampton Jr., who serves as chairman of the Hampton House, shared in a statement. “Among other purposes, it serves as a major aspect of preserving the extraordinary legacy of Chairman Fred Hampton, the Black Panther Party and that of service to the people in general.” The Hampton House is also led by Fred Jr.’s mother Akua Njeri.
There has been a concerted effort to preserve physical structures that are embedded in the fabric of Black history. News about Hampton’s childhood home receiving landmark status comes a year after the house where civil rights leader Malcolm X grew up in Boston was added to the National Register of Historic Places.