Getting it right on Hampton, the Panthers, and ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’
Fred Hampton, left, and Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton in "Judas and the Black Messiah"The young freedom fighters of the Black Panther Party, as brilliantly portrayed in the film Judas and the Black Messiah, were most certainly “uncompromising,” as described in Brian W. Major’s recent People’s World review.
Major’s treatment, however, while pointing to the historic importance of the Panthers and their rising young hero, Fred Hampton, lacks nuance and makes a number of misstatements of fact.
This is an important point, given the Judas role played by film’s anti-hero, the lumpen William O’Neal, a hustler turned FBI snitch, responsible for betraying Fred Hampton and a host of others.
But many in the Panthers, Hampton among them, saw things more clearly, as their famous Breakfast and Free Clinic programs gave eloquent testimony to.
A final note: The story of the people’s empowerment movement, in part begun by Fred Hampton and the BPP, didn’t end there.