Fredrick Allen Hampton (August 30, 1948 – December 4, 1969) was an American activist and revolutionary socialist. He came to prominence in Chicago as chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party (BPP), and deputy chairman of the national BPP. In this capacity, he founded a prominent multicultural political organization, the Rainbow Coalition, an alliance among major street gangs to end their infighting and work for social change.
Because of his strong leadership, in 1967 the FBI identified Hampton as a radical threat and began to try to subvert his activities in Chicago, sowing disinformation among these groups and placing a counterintelligence operative in the local Panthers. In December 1969, Hampton was shot and killed in his bed during a predawn raid at his Chicago apartment by a tactical unit of the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in conjunction with the Chicago Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation; during the raid, another Panther was killed and several seriously wounded. In January 1970, a coroner’s jury held an inquest and ruled the deaths of Hampton and Mark Clark to be justifiable homicide.A civil lawsuit was later filed on behalf of the survivors and the relatives of Hampton and Clark. It was resolved in 1982 by a settlement of $1.85 million; the City of Chicago, Cook County, and the federal government each paid one-third to a group of nine plaintiffs. Given revelations about the illegal COINTELPRO program and documents associated with the killings, scholars now widely consider Hampton’s death an assassination under the FBI’s initiative.