Iberia Hampton, the mother of Black Panther icon Fred Hampton, passed away this morning, her relatives said. She was 95 years old.
Hampton had been recovering from a stroke, said her oldest son Bill, who also noted that his mother’s body would likely be taken to her native Louisiana and buried next to her husband.
“She was a strong lady who influenced me in a lot of positive ways,” Bill said during an interview today. “She taught me the rights and wrongs of life. She always told us to be concerned about our community and our race.”
Hampton suffered through the death and rebirth of her famous son. Fred Hampton was assassinated on Dec. 4, 1969 inside of his West Side apartment. A longtime resident of Maywood, Fred’s hometown, Iberia lived long enough to see her son become a global icon with a street, a public statue and a pool in his hometown bearing his name.
“People should not forget that State’s Attorney Hanrahan, the Chicago Police, and the FBI murdered my son,” wrote Iberia for a review of a book authored by Jeffrey Haas on her son’s assassination. “This book tells the story, not only of Fred’s death, but also of his life. At twenty-one Fred was already a great leader. Who knows what he may have become, if they hadn’t killed him?”
Many of Fred’s posthumous honors have been the result of his older brother Bill’s persistence. During the decades since his brother’s passing, Bill has been a steward of the late Panther’s legacy, even establishing an annual scholarship for budding lawyers in the slain activist’s name.
Bill said plans are in the works for a memorial service to be held in Maywood in the coming days. More as this story develops.