Interview with Stokley Carmichael

Talk about in the neighborhood with Fred Hampton.


When acting as honorary Prime Minister for the Panther Party I was asked to—it was my task to help create chapters throughout the country. And in Chicago there was a SNCC person by the name of Bob Brown, who contacted me to let me know that there was some activity around there, and they could start a Panther Party, and they wanted to have some event there, a speech to begin to kick it off. So I received an invitation from a man called Fred Hampton, who at that time was a chairperson of the youth chapter of the NAACP in Maywood [Illinois]. For us it doesn't make a difference who invites us. And of course we're very happy when it's the NAACP because it means closer relationship. So, we went to spend some time in Chicago precisely around the Maywood event. Fred Hampton, when I met [him] was young, full of enthusiasm, bright and really full of struggle, full of enthusiasm for the struggle of our people. Bob Brown discussed it and some people discussed him joining the Panthers, but personally, and up until now, politically I have always had hesitation from going in, what you will consider ripping people off from one organization and pulling them in your organization. I know that there are enough of our people unorganized, not in any organizations. It's not necessary for us to go to one organization and steal. Better we go from the unorganized mass and pull somebody. So I had some hesitations but when I arrived and saw Hampton and his enthusiasm and he himself said that he would like to join the Panther Party. Well, OK, he seems ready for it. Go ahead. So I think in two weeks he joined the Panther Party, resigned.