I don't know about you, but I went way too long without knowing who Fred Hampton was. No one ever taught us about him in school, let alone his brutal murder at the hands of the Chicago police, LET ALONE the Black Panthers. His name never popped up in any textbooks that spent endless chapters discussing Andrew Jackson and other white "heroes" of American history. Hampton's legacy was pretty much whitewashed from my cozy, suburban existence. As I look back, I realize how horrible & glaring these omissions were, because Fred Hampton remains an icon of our revolutionary past, a social crusader whose life was taken far too soon. This book offers an accessible introduction to not only Hampton's assassination, but the subsequent trial that sought justice for him and all the lives he touched.— From Nick's Picks
Read the story behind the award-winning film Judas and the Black Messiah
On December 4, 1969, attorney Jeff Haas was in a police lockup in Chicago, interviewing Fred Hampton’s fiancée. Deborah Johnson described how the police pulled her from the room as Fred lay unconscious on their bed.
She heard one officer say, “He’s still alive.” She then heard two shots. A second officer said, “He’s good and dead now.” She looked at Jeff and asked, “What can you do?” The Assassination of Fred Hampton remains Haas’s personal account of how he and People’s Law Office partner Flint Taylor pursued Hampton’s assassins, ultimately prevailing over unlimited government resources and FBI conspiracy. Fifty years later, Haas writes that there is still an urgent need for the revolutionary systemic changes Hampton was organizing to accomplish.
Not only a story of justice delivered, this book spotlights Hampton as a dynamic community leader and an inspiration for those in the ongoing fight against injustice and police brutality.
About the Author
Attorney Jeffrey Haas has spent his career working for justice. In 1969 he and three other lawyers set up the People’s Law Office, whose clients included the Black Panthers, SDS, and other political activists. Haas went on to handle cases involving prisoners’ rights, police torture, and the wrongfully accused. He continues to represent victims of police brutality.
"[A] political cliff-hanger . . . an exposé [that] should be read in schools across the country." —Huffington Post
"An extraordinary retelling of a shameful chapter in our history. . . . reveals just how easily justice can be thwarted and malicious aims disguised when powerful people conspire to violate the law (commit murder) and manipulate procedure to avoid responsibility for their crimes. . . . A cautionary tale, as well as a story of heroism." —Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow
“Required political reading, especially for conservatives who are genuinely concerned about the damage secret government can do.” —Chicago Daily Observer
“An extremely important book—and a tale well told—for America to read if it wants to become what it says it has always been—the land of the free and the home of the brave.” —Ramsey Clark, former United States Attorney General
“A true crime story and legal thriller, this powerful account puts together all the pieces, step by step, giving us the anatomy of a despicable episode in recent American history. The writing is clear and straightforward; the overall impact devastating.” —Phillip Lopate, author of Getting Personal
“At once journalist, lawyer and storyteller, Jeff Haas manages to sear into every page of this book a compassion seemingly forgotten, providing a riveting eyewitness account of the government assassination of Fred Hampton. This is mandatory reading for those who love and believe in freedom.” —Elaine Brown, author and former chairman of the Black Panther Party
“Part history, part courtroom drama, part literary memoir, Haas evokes with chilling precision a bloody and desperate repressive state apparatus locked in conflict with its greatest fear, a charismatic young black man with revolution on his mind.” —William Ayers, professor of education, University of Illinois at Chicago
“A must-read.” —Len Weinglass, lawyer and civil rights activist
“A riveting account of the assassination, the plot behind it, the attempted cover-up, the denouement, and the lessons that we should draw from this shocking tale of government iniquity.” —Noam Chomsky, author and political activist