Facing foreclosure, a Chicago family is looking to save the home of a late civil rights icon and turn it into a museum.
Fred Hampton, known to many as “Chairman Fred” of the Black Panther Party, was killed in a raid in his West Side apartment in 1969. He was 20 years old.
Hampton was shot to death by police in his bed at his two-flat in Maywood.
“We would sit in the kitchen, his mom would cook, we would talk about different things,” said his widow Akua Njeri.
Hampton’s son, Fred Hampton Jr., is now working to turn the home into a history museum.
“It’s bigger than a building,” he said. “More significant than the structure. This is personal and political.”
But before the family can do that, they need to save the home at 804 S. 17th Avenue from foreclosure. It is scheduled for auction next week.
A GoFundMe campaign was started to try to raise $200,000 – the money the family hopes will not only save the home from foreclosure, but allow them to preserve Hampton’s legacy for future generations.
“This is the start of a great moment in history,” Hampton Jr. said. “And everybody has a chance to participate and say I did that – I help make it happen.”
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther party. Next year will mark 50 years since the killing of Fred Hampton Sr.