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Fred Hampton Quotes from the Revolutionary Activist

Fred Hampton was a captivating revolutionist who worked for social change during the civil rights movement of the 1960s. The Fred Hampton quotes below show the many ways he inspired his community. 

What have you learned about Fred Hampton? 

Hampton began working with the Black Panther Party in the mid-1960s. He was instrumental in bringing social change throughout Chicago, including arranging a non-aggression pact amongst Chicago’s street gangs and organizing BPP’s free breakfast program. He soon became the deputy chairman of BPP’s Illinois chapter. 

Later, Hampton’s leadership caught the attention of the FBI. They considered Hampton a threat to U.S. society. In 1969, local police officers murdered 21-year-old Hampton during an early morning raid of his apartment. The work of Fred Hampton inspires modern activists to continue fighting towards racial equality. 

To learn more about Fred Hampton’s views, check out the thoughts below.

Fred Hampton the American Activist

Don’t forget to also check out these powerful activism quotes that will inspire you to action. 

Powerful Fred Hampton quotes

1. “Black people need some peace. White people need some peace. And we are going to have to fight. We’re going to have to struggle. We’re going to have to struggle relentlessly to bring about some peace, because the people that we’re asking for peace, they are a bunch of megalomaniac warmongers, and they don’t even understand what peace means.” – Fred Hampton

2. “People have to be armed to have power, you see.” – Fred Hampton

3. “You have to understand that people have to pay a price for peace. If you dare to struggle, you dare to win.” – Fred Hampton

4. “I have a lot of respect for Martin Luther King. I think he was one of the greatest orators that the country ever produced.” – Fred Hampton

5. “Like we always said, if you’re asked to make a commitment at the age of twenty and you say I don’t want to make that commitment only because of the simple reason that I’m too young to die, I wanna live a little bit longer—what you did is, you’re dead already.” – Fred Hampton

6. “Why don’t you live for the people? Why don’t you struggle for the people? Why don’t you die for the people?” – Fred Hampton

7. “I was born in a bourgeois community and had some of the better things in life, but I found that there were more people starving than there were people eating, more people that didn’t have clothes than did have clothes, and I just happened to be one of the few. So I decided that I wouldn’t stop doing what I’m doing until all those people are free.” – Fred Hampton

8. “You don’t miss the water ‘til the well runs dry.” – Fred Hampton

9. “We have to start learning, and you learn through practice. We have to start making mistakes, and you learn through making mistakes.” – Fred Hampton

10. “They talked us into buying candy bars and throwing the candy away and eating the wrapper.” – Fred Hampton

11. “We’re gonna have to do more than talk. We’re gonna have to do more than listen. We’re gonna have to do more than learn. We’re gonna have to start practicing and that’s very hard. We’re gonna have to start getting out there with the people and that’s difficult. Sometimes we think we’re better than the people so it’s gonna take a lot of hard work.” – Fred Hampton

12. “That we might be in school now, might think we’re on the mountain top, but we’re gonna come down to the valley, because people in the valley, commitment’s in the valley, oppression’s in the valley, aggression, repression, fascism, all exists in the valley. No matter how nice it might be on the mountain top, we’ve got a commitment, so we’re going back. We got to go back to the valley.” – Fred Hampton

13. “In plain proletarian worker’s language, it takes two to tango.” – Fred Hampton

14. “I’m not going to die slipping on no ice.” – Fred Hampton

15. “Power anywhere where there’s people!” – Fred Hampton

Fred Hampton quotes on society

16. “Everything would be alright if everything was put back in the hands of the people, and we’re going to have to put it back in the hands of the people.” – Fred Hampton

17. “And how do they fool you? Because they pick the leaders they want. And they put those people up there and portray them as being your leaders when, in fact, they’re leaders of nobody.” – Fred Hampton

18. “With no education, you have neocolonialism instead of colonialism, like you’ve got in Africa now and like you’ve got in Haiti. So what we’re talking about is there has to be an educational program. That’s very important.” – Fred Hampton

19. “We know that political power doesn’t flow from the sleeve of a dashiki. We know that political power flows from the barrel of a gun.” – Fred Hampton

20. “Nothing is more important than stopping fascism, because fascism is gonna stop us all.” ― Fred Hampton

21. “We’re going to fight racism not with racism, but we’re going to fight with solidarity. We say we’re not going to fight capitalism with black capitalism, but we’re going to fight it with socialism.” – Fred Hampton

22. “Socialism is the people! You afraid of yourself. If you afraid of socialism, you afraid of yourself.” – Fred Hampton

23. “We understood that politics is nothing but war without bloodshed and war is nothing but politics with bloodshed.” – Fred Hampton

24. “I’m telling you that we’re living in an infectious society right now. I’m telling you that we’re living in a sick society. And anybody that endorses integrating into this sick society before it’s cleaned up is a man who’s committing a crime against the people.” – Fred Hampton

25. “Changing your name is not gonna change our set of arrangements. The only thing that’s gonna change our set of arrangements is what’s gotten us into this set of arrangements. And that’s the oppressor.” – Fred Hampton

26. “We say it’s no longer a question of violence or non-violence. We say it’s a question of resistance to fascism or non-existence within fascism.” – Fred Hampton

Fred Hampton quotes on being a revolutionary

27. “Let me just say: Peace to you, if you’re willing to fight for it.” – Fred Hampton

28. “We might not be back. I might be in jail. I might be anywhere. But when I leave, you’ll remember I said, with the last words on my lips, that I am a revolutionary. And you’re going to have to keep on saying that. You’re going to have to say that I am a proletariat; I am the people.” – Fred Hampton

29. “I believe I’m going to die doing the things I was born to do. I believe I’m going to die high off the people. I believe I’m going to die a revolutionary in the international revolutionary proletarian struggle.” – Fred Hampton

30. “You can jail a revolutionary, but you can’t jail the revolution.” – Fred Hampton

31. “We don’t need no culture except revolutionary culture. What we mean by that is a culture that will free you.” – Fred Hampton

32. “We say that we will work with anybody and form a coalition with anybody that has revolution on their mind.” – Fred Hampton

33. “We ain’t gonna fight no reactionary pigs who run up and down the street being reactionary; we’re gonna organize and dedicate ourselves to revolutionary political power and teach ourselves the specific needs of resisting the power structure, arm ourselves, and we’re gonna fight reactionary pigs with international proletarian revolution.” – Fred Hampton

34. “If you ever think about me, and you ain’t gonna do no revolutionary act, forget about me. I don’t want myself on your mind if you’re not going to work for the people.” – Fred Hampton

35. “A lot of people think the Breakfast for Children program is charity. But what does it do? It takes the people from a stage to another stage. Any program that’s revolutionary is an advancing program. Revolution is change.” – Fred Hampton

36. “You can’t build a revolution with no education. Jomo Kenyatta did this in Africa, and because the people were not educated, he became as much an oppressor as the people he overthrew.” – Fred Hampton

37. “When you leave here, leave here saying, the last words, before you go to bed tonight, say, “I am a revolutionary.” Make that the last words in case you don’t wake up. Then somebody might believe it and you might, you know, end up in, what they call it, revolutionary happy hunting grounds.” – Fred Hampton

38. “A lot of people get the word revolution mixed up and they think revolution’s a bad word. Revolution is nothing but like having a sore on your body and then you put something on that sore to cure that infection.” – Fred Hampton

39. “First of all, we say primarily that the priority of this struggle is class. That Marx, and Lenin, and Che Guevara end Mao Tse-Tung and anybody else that has ever said or knew or practiced anything about revolution, always said that revolution is a class struggle. “ – Fred Hampton

Fred Hampton quotes on the Black Panther Party

40. “Yes, we do defend our office as we do defend our homes. This is a constitutional right everybody has, and nothing’s funny about that. The only reason they get mad at the Black Panther Party when you do it is for the simple reason that we’re political.” – Fred Hampton

41. “Don’t worry about the Black Panther Party. As long as you keep the beat, we’ll keep on going.” – Fred Hampton

42. “I am the people, I’m not the pig. You got to make a distinction. And the people are going to have to attack the pigs. The people are going to have to stand up against the pigs. That’s what the Panthers is doing, that’s what the Panthers are doing all over the world.” – Fred Hampton

43. “A lot of people don’t understand the Black Panthers Party’s relationship with white mother country radicals.” – Fred Hampton

44. “We’re not metaphysicians, we’re not idealists, we’re dialectical materialists. And we deal with what reality is, whether we like it or not.” – Fred Hampton

45. “The Black Panther Party stood up and said that we don’t care what anybody says. We don’t think fighting fire with fire is best; we think you fight fire with water best.” – Fred Hampton

46. “We do not support people who are anarchistic, opportunistic, adventuristic, and Custeristic.” – Fred Hampton

47. “We have Breakfast for Children because we teach the people, through practice, through observation and participation, that people can be there, free.” – Fred Hampton

48. “We said nobody would shoot a Panther but a pig, because Panthers don’t pose a threat to anybody but pigs.” – Fred Hampton

49. “We’re not a racist organization, because we understand that racism is an excuse used for capitalism, and we know that racism is just – it’s a byproduct of capitalism.” – Fred Hampton

50. “We know that black people are most oppressed. And if we didn’t know that, then why the hell would we be running around talking about the black liberation struggle has to be the vanguard for all liberation struggles? If there’s ever going to be any liberation in the mother country, ever gonna be any liberation in the colony, then we got to be liberated by the leadership of the Black Panther Party and the black liberation struggle. We don’t negate that fact.” – Fred Hampton

How do you use your voice? 

Activist Fred Hampton worked towards giving power back to and educating his community. 

Education is empowerment. Talk about issues you are passionate about with family, friends, fellow students, etc. Whether online or IRL, these conversations can birth the beginnings of social change. The conversations may be uncomfortable at first. But don’t let fear get in the way of making your voice heard. 

Expressing yourself doesn’t have to be through talking. Try experimenting with other mediums such as art, writing, theatre, music, cooking, etc. It’s all about finding what empowers you. 

Which of these Fred Hampton quotes and sayings compels you the most? We would love to hear your thoughts!

Nia Simone McLeod
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  1. Phil O’Sofa

    January 20, 2021 at 1:22 PM

    Fred Hampton was assassinated on the first birthday I actually remember, so I wasn’t conscious of racism or the struggle of black peoples or American slavery until later. My first hero was Muhammad Ali, which may seem strange to some, as I’m from Irish stock & raised a third generation over the sea, a Briton. Growing up in the 1970’s though, the struggles for independence and equality were in sharp focus worldwide. Fred’s words chime louder as I get older, and I just hope I live to see social justice for the descendants of the slave trade, since that is the most pressing issue in the western world, in my opinion. I’m biased too because I have skin in the game, one might say. Among my favourites of his proclamations are ‘education is empowerment’, ‘ You can’t build a revolution with no education‘, and ‘ Nothing is more important than stopping fascism, because fascism is gonna stop us all’ but most importantly… “I am a revolutionary”

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