Interview with Marion Stamps

Talk to me a bit about the Panthers and Fred Hampton. You remember the Party?


I guess my first real experience in the movement came out of being involved in the Black Panther Party. Ah, I remember once having gone to the headquarters and, and taking my children, how excited I was in meeting Fred Hampton and really getting a real feel about what the Ten Point Platform was all about. And coming home trying to explain that to my, my mother. And her first though, "Uh uh, uh uh!" You know, "They killing police," you know, the whole thing, "that's gang!" You know, the whole bit that, uh, the pub--the public thought the party was all about. My experience of the party was very, very positive. I know had it not been me being able to be in the same room with Fred Hampton and, and, and gained the knowledge that he shared with all of us, I would not be the kind of person I am today. Um, I ran the, uh, food program, the breakfast program on the north side for the party. Had to get up every morning at 6 o'clock. Fred Hampton didn't want you to give kids powdered eggs so you had to make sure that you had real eggs, real grits, real everything, okay. But that experience and, and dealing with those young children at that time of the morning made us all feel better and the children feel better because we knew that those children went to school first of all full, and secondly, they had already gained some knowledge before they went into that classroom so it wasn't going to be as easy to miseducate those children as it would if had they not come to the program. And, and I think that if, if we were to just look at today what is happening, if it had not been for the party, we would not have free, free health care. If it had not been for the party, we would not have free breakfast programs. All of that came out of the Black Panther Party.