New mural on West Side memorializes Black Panther Party’s Fred Hampton
The mural by artist Andre Trenier replaces one that had faded after a decade. It peers out from a spot on West Madison Street not far from where he was gunned down in his bed in a police raid.
The original version showed just Hampton, with the words “Chairman Fred.”
Chicago’s murals & mosaics
Part of a series on public art in the city and suburbs. More murals are added every week.
The new one at 2746 W. Madison St. also includes other faces and a quotation from Hampton:
“I Am A Revolutionary — Free Em All.”
The Black Panthers were an influential force in the Civil Rights era. The group had a militant, Marxist edge that drew the attention of the FBI and other law enforcement agencies at a time the authorities often investigated political groups.
But Hampton also worked to foster peace among rival street gangs and to provide free breakfasts for the poor, among the anti-poverty and social justice efforts he supported.
The mural is less than a mile from where Hampton, 21, was killed Dec. 4, 1969, in a raid conducted by the Chicago Police Department and officers assigned to the office of then-Cook County State’s Attorney Edward Hanrahan. Police shot Hampton while he was in bed — after being drugged by an informant — in a raid that further inflamed racial tensions in Chicago. Another Black Panther Party leader, Mark Clark, 22, also was killed in the raid.
The new mural shows Hampton speaking into a microphone as another Black Panther Party member raises a fist in the air. A third man stares straight ahead. Hampton’s then-fiancée, pregnant at the time of the raid, is also part of the mural.
At bottom left is the slogan “The Cubs Are Coming . . . The Cubs Are Here!” That refers to the children of party members.
The mural was completed in August by Andre Trenier, an artist from the Bronx.
Trenier says he wanted people viewing the mural to learn more about Hampton and to “start conversations about things that need to be talked about.”
“I hope for it to be a teachable thing and for people to start being more educated,” Trenier says. “Because the more educated we are about our history, the better we’ll do in the future.”