On August 30, 1948, Fred Hampton was born in Maywood, the suburb area of Summit, Illinois. In his youth, Hampton excelled in the classroom and in athletics, and also had a dream of becoming the center fielder for the New York Yankees. In 1966, he graduated from high school then went on to attend Triton Junior College majoring in pre-law. He used this knowledge to patrol the local police in River Grove, Illinois. He and others would follow law enforcement to help protect the citizens against police brutality. He would later go on to become the leader of the Youth Counsel of the west suburban branch of the NAACP.
As the leader of the Youth Counsel, he was able to build an organization of 500 youth members within River Grove. He also used his position to improve the neighborhoods in which they existed. The council focused on improving educational and recreational resources in black communities.
In 1968, Fred Hampton moved to Chicago, Illinois and became a member of the Black Panther Party after learning about them through their rise to fame. The Black Panther Party with Fred Hampton as a member was making vast improvements within the neighborhoods of Chicago, including the organizing of a nonviolent pact between the most powerful gangs of Chicago. That same year Hampton held a press conference to announce that a truce had been made to stop the violence and would be kept by the gangs. Hampton called the joining of the gangs and organizations the “rainbow coalition,” a term Jessie Jackson would later take and use.
Hampton went on to become the leader of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party where he held weekly rallies, worked with local clinics, taught political education classes, and supervised the Chicago Police. He provided a free breakfast program for the black Chicago community, ensuring community members were able to eat. Hampton left the Chicago chapter of the Black Panthers to become the chairman of the Illinois State Black Panther Party, and later obtained the position of Deputy Chairman of the National B.P.P.
The leadership of the B.P.P was under attack by the FBI and was beginning to fall apart. As the leadership of the B.P.P. declined, Hampton was becoming more of a target for the FBI. He quickly became an enemy of J. Edgar Hoover, who saw Hampton and the B.P.P as a threat to the U.S. Government. Hampton’s mother’s phone was tapped by the FBI and a document of over 4,000 pages was created about him. The FBI worked overtime to dismantle the B.P.P and used every tactic they could. In the end, they managed to separate the B.P.P from its community alliances.
Hampton was close to creating a merger between the B.P.P. and the south side street gang, but tragedy struck first. With Hampton being considered an enemy by the FBI, a raid of his apartment was organized by Edward Allen, who was the State Attorney for the Office of Cook County. On December 3, 1969, Fred Hampton’s apartment was raided by the Chicago Police Department. Hampton was drugged by FBI informant William O’Neal and then shot and killed while asleep. Hampton left behind his pregnant wife, who gave birth to their son Fred Hampton, Jr. four weeks later.
Fred Hampton was unlawfully killed in the midst of helping to create a better community for black people in America. He worked hard to ensure that black America lived better, and even though Fred Hampton was killed by the FBI and the Chicago Police Department, his legacy and his work will never be forgotten. We will work hard today to make sure we follow in the footsteps of Fred Hampton to improve our communities. Chairman Fred Hampton, Sr. we proudly stand on your shoulders.
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Alice Ball was born on July 24th, 1892, in Seattle Washington to parents James Presley and Laura Ball. The Ball family was a middle class American family; her father was a newspaper editor, photographer and lawyer, while her grandfather was also a famous photographer. Ball moved to Hawaii with her family in 1903, in 1904 she suffered the loss of her grandfather James Ball Sr. After the passing of her grandfather her family moved back to Seattle in 1905 to be closer to their immediately family. In 1910 Ball graduated from a Seattle High School and began attending the University of Washington to study chemistry. She earned two degrees from the University of Washington, one in pharmaceutical chemistry and one in pharmacy. Ball used her college time to publish a 10-page article in the Journal of the American Chemical Society; her article was titled “Benzoylations in Ether Solution.”
After graduating from the University of Washington, she was offered scholarships to attend the University of California Berkley and the University of Hawaii. Ball decided to return to Hawaii to earn her master’s degree in chemistry, which she earned in 1915. Ball earning her master’s made her the first woman and first African-American to graduate from the University of Hawaii with a master’s degree. During her time at Hawaii Ball investigated the chemical makeup, and active ingredient of Piper methysticum for her master’s thesis. During the development of her thesis, Ball was pursued by Dr. Harry T. Hollmann an assistant surgeon at Kalihi Hospital in Hawaii. Dr. Hollmann was seeking Ball’s assistance in developing a method to isolate the active chemical compound in chaulmoogra oil. Chaulmoogra oil was not popular because of its taste and it caused people to have an upset stomach.
Ball was able to isolate the ethyl esters of the fatty acids in the oil so it can be injected into someone. On December 31st, 1916 Alice Ball died at the age of 24 before she could publish her research results. Author L. Dean a fellow chemist at the University of Hawaii continued Ball’s research, he produced large amounts of the injectable oil extract and used it on patients. In 1918 a report was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association stating that 78 patients were treated and were able to leave the hospital and resume their normal lives. Alice Ball developed a treatment for Hansen’s disease which was used from 1918 to 1940. In the year 2000 the University of Hawaii honored Ball by dedicating a plaque in her honor and placing it on the only Chaulmoogra tree on the campus. That same day the Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii declared February 29th “Alice Ball Day.” In 2007 Ball was honored by the University of Hawaii with a medal of distinction. Though her life was short it was extraordinary because of the great accomplishments she gained in her life. She used her time on earth wisely and gave life her all. Alice Ball is an example of success and greatness for us all to follow. Mrs. Alice Augusta Ball, we stand on your shoulders.
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Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller was born June 9th, 1877, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to a family of black elites within an affluent and influential community. As a young girl she was trained in art, music, dance, and horseback riding; her family stressed education and cultural enrichment. She was selected as one of the few students to attend J. Liberty Tadd’s art school, instead of attending a Philadelphia public school. In 1893 as a high-school student one of her art projects was chosen to be displayed in the World’s Columbian Exposition. She was later awarded a scholarship to attend the Pennsylvania Museum & School of Industrial Art in 1894. While attending the Pennsylvania Museum & School of Industrial Art, she learned and mastered the skill of sculpting. Fuller would start to show her artistically rebellious spirit, she broke out of the traditional themes of feminine art which was expected of female artist. She began to create pieces which would reflect frightening imagery; she was showing independence which was rarely shown by female artist. In 1898 Fuller graduated from the Pennsylvania Museum & School of Industrial Art, she also earned a teaching certificate.
In 1899 she left home and traveled to Paris, France, to study with Raphael Collin at the Academie Colarossi and the Ecole des Deaux-Arts. While in Paris Fuller was confronted with racism, she was refused lodging at a hotel where she had already made reservations. She would find help from a family friend, the Painter Henry Ossawa Tanner who found lodging for her and acquainted her with his colleagues. Fuller was flourishing as a sculptor; she was finding inspiration from the art of Augustine Rodin. Her art was beginning to resemble the images of human suffering; she gained the name “the delicate sculptor of horrors.” Fuller earned the privilege of becoming the protégé of Augustine Rodin, and also gained the friendship of W.E.B. Dubois. Rodin helped mold a genius of a sculptor, while Dubois encouraged her to incorporate more African concepts into her art. Fuller’s art was being displayed in galleries all over Paris; she even earned herself a one-woman exhibition sponsored by Samuel Bing. The Salon de l’Art Nouveau exhibited two of Fullers works, The Wretched, and The Impenitent Thief, in 1903 before her return to the United States.
As Fuller returned to Philadelphia, she was met with racism once again, she was not welcomed within the local art scene because she was black. Despite the racism, she was commissioned to create dioramas of African-American historical events for the James Town Tercentennial Exposition and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts In 1906. She was the first African-American woman to receive a U.S. Commission. Fuller earned more art exhibitions at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in 1908 and 1920. The Boston Library hosted one of Fullers exhibitions in 1922; she also exhibited at the Tanner League at Dunbar High School in Washington D.C. She would later face financial troubles in life along with enduring a fire which almost destroyed all of her work for the last 16 years. She did not receive the same artistic nurturing in Philadelphia that she received in Paris. She had begun to lose her passion for her art. March 13, 1968 Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller died in Framingham, Massachusetts at the age of 80. Fuller is regarded as the first artist to celebrate afrocentricity within her art; she was one of the forerunners of the Black Renaissance. Because of Fuller and several contemporaries positive art depicting Africa and African-Americans were beginning to flourish. Mrs. Meta Vaux Warrick Fuller, we stand on your shoulders.
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