Gil Scott-Heron Immortalizes Black Panther Party Leader Fred Hampton, Killed By Police
Civil rights activists/Chicago Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton was shot and killed today (December 4, 1969) in Chicago, Illinois.
Hampton, was shot in the head by Chicago police as he slept during a raid of his West Monroe Street apartment, which also resulted in the death of fellow Black Panther Mark Clark.
The police had raided the Chicago apartment under the new “No Knock” law, which allowed police to enter a property without prior notification.
Police claimed that they had fired upon The Black Panthers because they had been attacked, but it was soon revealed that officers had fired a large amount of machine and shotgun fire at one living room wall, while there was little sign of return fire.
A Grand Jury eventually concluded that the police’s claim that they had fired in self-defense was false, although no officers where indicted.
The events of that day, as well as the “No Knock” law inspired Gil Scott-Heron to write the 1972 song “No Knock.”
“No Knock” was featured on Gil Scott-Heron album Free Will, which was released in 1972.
“No Knock” is considered by many historians to be a forerunner of modern Hip-Hop music, due to Gil Scott’s intense delivery during the song.
Free Will was released in August 1972, on Bob Thiele’s Flying Dutchman Records.
According to Gil Scott-Heron, a number of influential records would not have existed without Bob Thiele’s investment into Flying Dutchman, which at the time, was not commercially successful.
“Bob Thiele wanted to create a recorded chronicle of the era,” Gil Scott-Heron wrote in his book “The Last Holiday: A Memoir.”
“Many changes in our society that took place in the 1970s were credited to the 1960s and Bob wanted those sounds on wax,” Gil Scott continued. “These were often albums that had no commercial potential, but that were enormously insightful as slices of an age and invaluable as snapshots of a period that reshaped America first and everywhere else later.”