y Kofi Taharka, (National Chairman – National Black United Front NBUF, Black Guerilla Media BGM)
The Houston Chapter of the People’s Party II (PPII)/Black Panther Party (BPP) Alumni Association hosted Carl B. Hampton Day at the Judson Robinson Sr. Community Center & Park in the Pleasantville neighborhood of Houston, Texas. Hundreds gathered throughout the day to honor the legacy of Houston’s fiery young revolutionary. A Houston Police Department snipers bullet ended his 21-year-old life on July 26, 1970. However, his spirit and principles still reverberate 52 years later.
A mostly celebratory atmosphere engulfed the domed basketball court which was converted into an outdoor arena for Carl Hampton Day. The joyous mood was always tempered with the reality of what happened on that infamous day in Houston history. Pleasantville is the neighborhood that produced the Chairman of the PP II Carl B. Hampton, an organization fashioned after the Black Panther Party and the forerunner to it’s Houston Chapter.
Carl’s childhood friends and comrades from the PP II/BPP attended to give first person accounts about this bold young captain. Several attendees came from across the country. Diverse activist and organizers from different groups (Black, Indigenous, Palestinian, Progressives) of today took to the rostrum one after the other exhorting the crowd on the importance of Carl’s (PP II/BPP) legacy and its relevance today. Deric Muhammad brought forth a family member of Roderick Brooks who earlier this month was murdered by a Harris County Sheriff Deputy in Houston. She updated the community on the status of the case. Public release of the body camera video is pending. African drumming, Aztec dancers, poetry, and a live band secured the audience’s attention throughout the three-hour program. Culturally orientated vendors surrounded the perimeter of the event. “It is important that Carl B. Hampton Day reflect the principles which he and the People’s Party II/Black Panther Party lived by” said John “Bunchy” Crear of the Alumni Association and primary organizer of the day.
In activist circles the story of Carl Hampton’s assassination on Emancipation Avenue (Dowling St.) in Houston’s Third Ward was mostly passed down through legendary oral history. In 1997 ancestor Charles “Boko” Freeman of PPII/BPP organized a large commemoration in Emancipation Park. Since that time the alumni association with support from many allies has organized small and large gatherings to illuminate this vital history. The true story is often left out of the mainstream of Houston Black history. Not unlike in some ways, the Camp Logan Insurrection by Black World War I soldiers that took place in 4th Ward/Freedmen’s Town in 1917. Police terrorism of the African in America community initiated this conflict. The similarity between Camp Logan and PPII fifty plus years later was Blacks were armed in the hostilities with Houston Police. Aside from that point the two historical events diverge in specifics. BPP veterans are quick to point out the survival programs it initiated such as the FREE BREAKFAST PROGRAM which was later adopted by the federal government. These facts help dispel the imagery of the BPP as solely gun totting, black leather jacket wearing radicals. The many survival programs bound the organization to our communities for generations. Just like the echoes of Carl B. Hampton reverberate through to this very day.
To learn more about Carl B. Hampton People’s Party II/Black Panther Party, the 10-day staff off on Dowling @ PPII HQ, and the aftermath of Carl B. Hampton’s Assassination go to www.itsabouttime.com
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