Interview with George Clements

How did the community cope with the loss of Fred Hampton?


It was, ah, it was interesting. I had a, ah, mass for Fred, the day after he was ki- murdered, ah, that following morning. And I was just shattered. I was devastated. I, I just felt like, "Wow, this is, this is a blow. I don't know how we're going to deal with this." And, in the midst of this mass, I was trying to explain to our children, we had all the school children there, all 1300, and I was trying to explain to them the importance of Fred. And I wasn't getting through, at least I felt like I wasn't getting through, and in the midst of my explanation I just burst into tears. And the next thing I knew here was one of our eighth-grade boys. He jumped up and he said, "I am Fred Hampton!" And then a girl in the sixth grade jumped up, "I am Fred Hampton!" Another kid in first grade, "I am Fred Hampton". And, before you know it, the whole church, kids were all shouting "I am Fred Hampton!" And, wow, I just felt so wonderful. I felt like, "Gee whiz, this death was not in vain at all, because these kids are saying that they are willing to get up there and speak out for liberation, for first class citizenship**."