On December 4, 1969, Black Panther leader Fred Hampton was murdered in cold blood by the Chicago Police Department in conspiracy with the FBI.
Although many years have gone by since then, the people’s love for this great revolutionary has remained strong.
Below we publish two poems that we received. Written this year, they connect the anger over the murder of Fred Hampton and other revolutionaries with the struggles that continue today for liberation.
“Streets on Fire” — Brandon Shaw
Chants of anger, screams of rage.
Fists in the air on the world’s stage.
Discontent with society’s problems,
with government control, and a dying economy.
Normally we would accept this,
but normally we often regret this
wretched state of our country.
The president lies and taxes soak up our money.
I heard the black man can’t make his way
until the white man has his say.
But before all that, the yellow man
Still wants his pay.
After the red man was driven away,
The white man owned slaves.
But none of this has gone away.
The world has changed since,
But we have yet to see a New Day.
In the hearts of folks who want change
Lives the New Day.
The revolution will not be televised,
Because then it would be compromised.
Huey, Fred, and Malcolm were slain
So now there is a need to liberate our minds.
No one has to play follow the leader,
Or hold guns, or protest either.
Just believe in a cause and that’s all.
Oppression has made his home far too long,
for us to keep dreaming for better days.
People are angry, people are scared.
Because of this our faith has been impaired.
The streets on fire, the streets got rage
People want truth, to see a New Day.
“We Remember” – Janelle Jackson
But, still a black man.
Assassinated by the FBI,
this could be the story of many black men.
This country doesn’t value their lives and never has.
When we examine past incidents,
we recognize that this a pattern that has repeated itself on this soil for centuries.
I’ve read the obituaries.
I’ve heard the mothers cry.
I’ve organized the rallies to get our anger out in a positive way.
But how many times do we accept in-genuine apologies from overseers who have no love for black men? Especially when history continues to repeat itself.
Shot in cold blood,
twice out hate,
I will not conceal your lies,
no matter how many times you send me the message that my brothers lives don’t have meaning,
I’ll keep screaming at the top of my lungs that black lives matter.
Just like Fred Hamptons did on December 4, 1969.
You didn’t kill the movement by taking his life.
You made him a martyr that will always be remembered for his contributions to the fight.
Today we honor a warrior gone too soon.
We remember that is was the United States government that assassinated him.
We recognize what that means for our movements.
We make sure his death and all of our slain mothers and fathers were not in vain.
Revolution is a deadly business,
but we are dying every 28 hours anyway.
our silence is not an armor,
and our skin makes us a target.
So we gotta fight.
Just like Chairman Fred did.
Brandon is a community activist, organizer, and co-chair for Progressive Student Alliance – USAS local 68; he is also the editor of Subliminally Speaking and a writer in Memphis, TN.
Janelle is a rank and file organizer for Concerned Citizens for Justice and poet in Chattanooga, TN.Download this piece as a PDF