BLACK activist Fred Hampton was the chairman of the Black Panther Party in the 1960’s.
He was tragically murdered in his home in 1969 and had been targeted by the FBI for his social work in Chicago.Deborah Johnson aka Akua Njeri
Who is Deborah Johnson?
Deborah Johnson, now known as Akua Njeri, is an American activist and writer.
She was the fiancée of Fred Hampton and the mother of Fred Hampton Jr.Njeri is the mother of Fred Hampton Jr. -- the current leader of the Black Panther CubsCredit: Twitter
Njeri is the chairperson of the December 4th Committee which fights to defend and maintain the legacy of the Black Panther Party.
She reportedly changed her name from Johnson to Njeri to “shed her slave name” and overcome racial oppression during the 1960’s and 70’s.
How did Deborah Johnson and Fred Hampton meet?
Njeri and Hampton met at Wright City College when he was on campus speaking to a group of students.
She introduced herself after the speech and the two instantly sparked a connection.
Njeri had seen him on TV before on Ronnie Barrett’s Chicago show and was impressed with his work in the Black Panther movement.
She instantly wanted to join the activism after watching him on the show and became intrigued by his social action.Hampton Jr. works to carry on his father's legacy in the Black Panther movement and raise awareness on social injustices in the USCredit: Instagram
The two eventually started dating and Njeri became pregnant with their first child together.
Hampton was murdered on December 4, after police raided their home and shot him.
Black Panther member Mark Clark was also killed that night.
Njeri was eight months into her pregnancy at the time.
In 1991, Njeri published an autobiography called My Life With the Black Panther Party and spoke about Hampton’s killing on the 50th anniversary, saying: “When I was handcuffed the police said, ‘You better not run, you better not try to escape’ and he kept pressing that gun to my belly. So my child felt that cold steel.”
What happened to Deborah Johnson after Fred Hampton's death?
After Hampton’s death, Njeri was arrested and charged with two counts of attempted murder and aggravated assault.
She was released from jail with the help of supporters who raised over $100,000 to free her.Njeri was arrested while pregnant but was later freed after getting financial support from the publicCredit: Twitter
After her release Njeri gave birth to Alfred Johnson shortly after and changed his name to Fred Hampton Jr. when he was 10-years-old.
Where is Deborah Johnson now?
Njeri is still currently involved in the Black Panther Cubs movement alongside her son Hampton Jr.
She also served as the president of the National People's Democratic Uhuru Movement and is associated with a campaign to rename a block in Chicago, 2300 W Monroe, as Chairman Fred Hampton Way.
Njeri worked with Hampton Jr. as a consultant in the movie Judas and the Black Messiah as it is loosely based on her and Hampton’s life and the activist movement.
She continues to raise awareness about her husband’s murder while also supporting social justice causes and told ABC News in 2019: “I used to say that if I gave up, the ghost of Chairman Fred would haunt me to this day. Because we’re still not free. Power to the people has not become a reality."