Interview with Elaine Brown
QUESTION 22
LOUIS MASSIAH:

What was the funeral like? Paint a picture for me.

ELAINE BROWN:

Well, as I, as I talk about it and I've thought about it many times. Um, the funeral--of course, you have to imagine that four days, I was in Chicago four days after Fred was murdered. And um, and you could touch his bed, and your finger could become moist with his blood still. And you know, and there was Deborah, and we, she and I had talked about this, we're both pregnant. And she had been in that bed, that bed had rocked with, rocked the life out of him, blood on her, he had fallen on her. And you saw all that right there, and there--but, on the streets of Chicago, everywhere, thousands and thousands of Black people coming through the house, coming through the streets, um, everyone just wanting to know what do we do now, that Fred is gone. And you had these, um, these loudspeakers the Panthers had put on these trucks, and running through the streets with Fred's speeches, listening to Fred, organized people, people crying, just unabashedly, openly in the streets. And then the funeral. Where you had thousands of people for blocks around listening to the speeches. Listening to this one give praise to Fred, and that one give praise to Fred, many of whom hadn't known him, but everybody wanted to be there because it was Fred Hampton. And then at, at the end, as I, as I, as I've said many times, the most profound thing occurred, and that was the, at least 2,000 members of the Peace Town Nation, in full regalia, red berets, the Black jackets, whatever, and they're going by, and they're looking in Fred's open casket, and they're, they say, ""To the Nation, Fred."" And you had to see it, because you know that these people were totally alienated from society, and they had found one person who meant that much to them. It was profound.