Activists fighting to save Fred Hampton's childhood home

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By Michael Romain

Editor

Relatives, friends and colleagues of the late civil rights activist Fred Hampton are fighting to save Hampton's childhood home in Maywood from going into foreclosure.

A mortgage foreclosure auction for the two-story, multifamily apartment building at 804 S. 17th Ave. in Maywood is scheduled for Oct. 23 at 10 a.m., according to the website of the Judicial Sales Corporation, which provides services to foreclosure plaintiffs and their attorneys during auctions.

According to the Illinois Foreclosure Listing Service, the balance due on the property could be around $64,000.

During mortgage foreclosure auctions, most properties are sold for 25 percent down with "with the balance due by [2 p.m.] the next business day," according to an FAQ on the Judicial Sales website.

Sometimes, the website notes, properties are sold at 10 percent down and others at 100 percent down at the close of sale.

As the sale draws near, Fred Hampton's son, Fred Hampton, Jr. — the chairman of the Black Panther Cubs — has helmed an effort to help save the historic property, which he wants to turn into a museum honoring the legacy of his slain father. 

Hampton was chairman of the Illinois Black Panther Party — which his son, Hampton Jr., said was the country's largest chapter — and deputy chairman of the national Black Panther Party. 

Hampton was assassinated in 1969 by a tactical unit comprising FBI agents and Chicago police officers, who were carrying out orders given by the Cook County State's Attorney. 

After his death, a 1982 civil lawsuit, filed by family members of Hampton and slain Panther Mark Clark, resulted in a settlement worth nearly $2 million.

A GoFundMe designed to help raise money to save the home was created three months ago and, as of Oct. 12, had generated $1,070 of its $500,000 goal. Congressman Danny K. Davis (7th) appeared on WVON radio on Oct. 12 urging people to donate toward the effort.

On Oct. 12, the community organizer Anthony Clark, a member of Democratic Socialists of America, created another GoFundMe campaign with a goal of raising $70,000. As of Oct. 14, the campaign had generated $1,055. 

"Brother Fred once said, 'If you dare to struggle, you dare to win,'" Clark said. "The Hampton family dedicated their lives to the struggle. The preservation of Fred's childhood home is about the appreciation of that legacy and utilizing that legacy to educate our youth on the importance of the struggle." 

In a Facebook video shot inside of his father's childhood home, Hampton Jr. urged people, including celebrities like rapper Lupe Fiasco, to contribute to the effort to save the home. A website, savethehamptonhouse.org, has also been created.

"Our people don't recognize the significance in monuments," Hampton Jr. said in the Facebook video. 

Hampton's childhood home had long been where the late Black Panther leader's closest relatives lived. Iberia Hampton, his mother, died in 2016. His sister, Frances "Dee Dee" Hampton, died in 2017. Bill Hampton, Fred's older brother, died in February.

At the time of his death, Bill was collaborating with Antoine Fuqua, the Academy Award-winning director of Training Day, who is developing a film Fred Hampton, according to numerous media reports. 

Hampton Jr. said that he wants to raise $200,000 to get the building up to code and $80,000 to bring it out of the foreclosure process.

"It's possible," he said. "Like Che Guevara said, 'Let's be realistic, let's do the impossible.'" 

CONTACT: michael@austinweeklynews.com     

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