Fred Hampton Jr., the son of the legendary civil rights figure Fred Hampton, will be the special guest as the Black Men Coalition of Dane County hosts “A Celebration for The People” tonight at 6 p.m. at Aldo Leopold Nature Center, 330 Femrite Drive.
“We are looking forward to having Fred Hampton Jr. and hear him speaking as we watch edited clips of the movie ‘Judas and The Black Messiah,’ a movie about Fred Hampton, his father and one of the original Black Panthers,” Corey Marionneaux, founder of Black Men Coalition of Dane County, tells Madison365.
Fred Hampton Sr. was an active leader in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), leading their Youth Council of the organization’s West Suburban Branch. Hampton was the deputy chairman of the national Black Panther Party at the time of this death at age 21 and chair of the Illinois chapter. “Judas and The Black Messiah” is Shaka King’s 2021 film that dramatizes Hampton’s betrayal by an FBI informant and, ultimately, his death at the hands of the Chicago police.
“Fred Hampton Jr. will be doing a Q&A and we will have dinner catered by Little John’s Kitchens. We will have a meet and greet. It should be really nice,” Marionneaux says.
Fred Hampton Jr. was born just couple of weeks after his father’s murder. He is currently a Chicago-based political activist and the president and chairman of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee and the Black Panther Party Cubs.
“I reached out to Fred Hampton Jr. for this event. He’s a friend of the family. I let him know what we’re doing at Black Men Coalition of Dane County. As we communicated more, he and I came up with the idea for this event,” Marionneaux says. “I thought it was a good idea and something that would be really cool.
“I just thought it would be healthy for the community. The information is needed especially with all of the things going on around police shootings and things like that,” he adds. “His father and his death at the hands of the police was a huge event in American history …, especially with what’s going on today.”
The Black Men Coalition of Dane County‘s mission is “to foster and develop a safe and inclusive environment for the Black men in Dane County through community involvement, mentorship, education, and employment skills and opportunities which generates a sense of belonging that is conducive to social and emotional development.”
“Things are going really well right now at Black Men Coalition. We have started our financial literacy program and we have 12 students in our first class. We’re doing this with Summit Credit Union,” Marionneaux says. “They are sending out their bankers out to teach the class that we host at our office on 1. Pickney St. [on the Capitol Square.]
“Once they complete the financial program, they get a private banker and have $245 deposited in their account,” he continues. “After that, we have a financial group where the people can talk about their finances and ask financial questions and to share information. So much information doesn’t get to the people who need it, so this is very important.”
The Black Men Coalition has an on-the-job training employment program. “We continuously on-the-job train the people we get employed. So right now the minimum that we are getting people employed for is $20 an hour, particularly with full benefits,” Marionneaux says. “Right now, one of the companies we are working with is LIttle John’s and we have 14 employees over there. It’s working out really well. It’s a nice opportunity to have.”
At tonight’s Black Men Coalition of Dane County’s “A Celebration for The People” event with special guest Chairman Fred Hampton Jr., Marionneaux is encouraging people to have seen the movie “Judas and The Black Messiah” before they come. Actor Daniel Kaluuya won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for his nuanced portrayal of Fred Hampton Sr.
“We would like the people to watch the movie before they come. It’s very good. I’ve seen it a couple of times. It’s going to be a great discussion,” Marionneaux says.