Interview with Elaine Brown

How do you you account, when you think back on the impression Fred Hampton made on you, how do you account for the strength and the growth of the Chicago Panthers.


Well, I mean clearly Fred Hampton was the, the, the essence of what we called the Illinois Chapter focused in Chicago, based in Chicago. I mean when you, when you realize that Fred Hampton, for the time he was in the party, he was only 20 and 21 years old, for the time he was alive. Um, I met Fred the first time when, when we, ah, I'd just left a funeral, one of the many funerals out of Southern California, with David Hilliard, and we had gone back to criticize Fred for his, I wasn't about to criticize him, but, but, but, but David Hilliard was, for having denounced the Weather Underground, Weathermen, whatever they were called at the time, for trashing parts of Black community of South, of, of, of, ah, Chicago. And Fred's line was very hard. He took a line that, that these people did not belong in that community. That they had brought the police down. That the Black Panther party was being blamed, so they were doing two things, they were affecting the community directly and indirectly, they were affecting the relationship the community had with the Black Panther party was getting very angry. So we went to see Fred, and, you know, and, and Fred was, you know, here he was this, he was basically a kid, I mean when you really think about it, I mean. But um, and that night, that I first met him, we came in late, and, and he had this big bed, and he and Deborah, his, his wife, they, they had gotten this bed, and everybody made a big thing about this bed that, that Fred and, 'cause Fred was kind of chunky, and Brenda was, rather Deborah, rather, was, ah, was fat with his baby, and ah, so there was a big number made about this bed, because Fred Hampton didn't go to sleep anyway--