In the late 1960s, Fred Hampton was the deputy chairman of the Black Panther Party in Illinois. He was killed sleeping next to his pregnant girlfriend during a raid by the FBI, Chicago Police Department and another law enforcement agency. The Panthers claimed the killing was unjustified and accused the officers involved of murder. A grand jury chose not to indict any of the officers involved. Hampton’s case then morphed into a civil lawsuit that played out in courts of law and public opinion for years. Books, movies and documentaries were made about the alleged “assassination” of Hampton.
In the mid-1970s, the case was still headline news. I came across this man selling Black Panther newspapers near the ‘L’ on Argyle. The headline says “All-White jury in Fred Hampton murder case.” I asked this man if he thought African-Americans could get justice in America. He laughed at me.