Interview with Bobby Rush

Can you share something with me about your impressions of Fred Hampton as a leader and why it made sense to pull him into the Panther party, how, how it was that he moved people?


I think that Fred moved people because most people felt as though he had a sense of conviction that was the height of, of, of, uh, of effective, of effectiveness. That he was, uh, a person who, if he said something, then you'd better watch out, within a few seconds he's going to be doing exactly what he said he's going to do, okay? And he was, uh, he was not a person who used his skills to influence and to move people and to motivate people. He did not use them in any kind of selfish manner. He used them strictly to, and, and, to get people to move from one point to another point in their own self-interest. Fred was so courageous. So, uh, extraordinary as a speaker. Ah, so powerful because of the fact that he was a simple, young man, although he was a leader of men much older than him, he was a simple, young man, and that- and his simplicity and his approach to life, uh, and the, and the enthusiasm and excitement and the, and the conviction that it, that it, that this all, uh, uh, uh, again, was a part of. I just think that, uh, that, uh, there are, there are only a few people, uh, ever, who have the same kind of qualities, charisma and leadership abilities that Fred Hampton had. And he only, and he was murdered at age 21, and, uh, if he had been allowed to, uh, to live, if he had lived longer, he would certainly have been a force on this face of, on this Earth.