Event—Adult Education

Revolution and Response: The Chicago Black Panther Party


Why—and how—did the Black Panther Party emerge in the political and community life of Chicagoans?

L-R: William Hampton, brother of slain Illinois Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton; Rev. Jesse Jackson, Bobby Rush Panther Party official, and Renault Robinson, president of the Afro-American Patrolmen's League. Wanted by police for questioning, Rush surrendered to police while still on stage in front of some 5,000 persons in the theater audience. December 7, 1969. Source: Chicago Sun Times / Larry Graff, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Class Description

We’ll begin this class by discussing the mid-century wave of white mob violence against African Americans, and the role the Chicago Police Department played in policing these large-scale riots.

We’ll explore Fred Hampton’s life as an activist before cofounding the Chicago BPP with Bobby Rush. We’ll survey the political landscape in Chicago during the late 1960s, including the African American sub-machine under the Daley regime. We’ll examine the CPD’s policing tactics in the late 1960s and why the department targeted the BPP.

The core of the class examines the BPP’s ideology and community programs, and the events leading up to the murder of Fred Hampton. Of special interest is the BPP’s creation of multiethnic alliances across the city. The class will close by discussing the murder of Fred Hampton and the historical legacy of the BPP.

Dr. Chris Stacey has taught the History of Chicago at DePaul University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. In addition, he has presented a series of virtual public lectures on the History of Chicago over the past three years.

Materials List


First Reading

  • For the first week, please read From the Bullet to the Ballot, pp. 28-42.

Cost and Registration

Four sessions, $195 ($175.50 for Newberry members, seniors, and students). Learn about becoming a member.

To register multiple people for this class, please go through the course calendar in Learning Stream, our registration platform. When you select the course and register, you’ll be prompted to add another registrant.


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