Tuesday, February 28, 2006

 

Chairman Fred Hampton Way

An ordinance sponsored by Ald. Madeline Haithcock would rename a section of a Chicago street after Fred Hampton, the late leader of the Black Panther Party in Chicago. Haithcock thinks we should ignore his advocacy of militant black nationalism focus on the positives of Hampton's work:
'I'm not going on the negative. I'm only going on the good things they did for the community. The Black Panthers were the first ones to start breakfast programs in the schools,' she said.

'I don't think their purpose was to go out and destroy police officers. Their purpose was housing, education, clothing and justice. They fought racism and discrimination. That's the part I was going on. Only the good things.'

Told that the police group was furious about the designation, Haithcock initially defended it. 'There's a lot of negative things that a lot of people have done. We're doing negative things right now in Iraq.'
Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue gets it right:
It's a dark day when we honor someone who would advocate killing policemen and who took great advantage of the communities he claimed to have been serving.
Haithcock's ward is represented in Congress by former Black Panther 'Minister of Defense' Bobby Rush.

UPDATE: Wednesday's Sun-Times reports Haithcock will wait a month before seeking a full council vote. The issue has many local politicians nervous. Predictably, Bobby Rush's blood is up:
"We're engaged in battle now," said Rep. Bobby Rush (D-Chicago), a former Black Panther defense minister who said he fully supports Haithcock's proposal and "will stand right beside her and, if necessary, I will stand in front of her."

"I didn't seek this fight," Rush said. "I didn't go looking for this fight. But I am determined to fight for this street designation until the bitter end. It will become a reality in the city of Chicago."
Unfortunately, he may be right.

Mayor Daley called it a local matter. He's wrong. Honoring Fred Hampton in any way would be an embarassment for the entire city.

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