The exciting true story Judas and the Black Messiah chronicles the activism and violent repression of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s. Shaka King, in his directorial debut on the big screen, is joined by stars Daniel Kaluuya (Salt, Black Panther), Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta, Sorry to bother you) and Jesse Plemons (Breaking Bad, Vice) to bring this groundbreaking biopic to audiences that are still engaged in the fight for racial justice. Available on HBO Max, the film is sure to resonate with a nation reeling in the wake of the high-profile killings of George Floyd and others by the police.
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Judas and the Black Messiah tells the real-life story of Fred Hampton (Kaluuya), president of the Illinois section of the Black Panther Party, and William O’Neal (Stanfield), an FBI informant who works for the Bureau to avoid jail time for his own criminal activity. As Hampton builds his “Rainbow Coalition” of activist groups, the notorious J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen) instructs O’Neal’s boss, Roy Mitchell (Plemons), to use his informant to eliminate the threat posed by the charismatic leader. of the Party. As the film enters its third act, O’Neal must decide which side of the story he wants to be on: contributing to the revolution and risking his own safety, or assisting in the illegal assassination by the government of a promising young activist.
Judas and the Black Messiah focuses on a chapter in civil rights history that was recently mentioned in Aaron Sorkin The Chicago 7 trial, but this time it puts the Black Panthers, Fred Hampton and Bill O’Neal at the center of the story. Here’s a breakdown of the amount of Judas and the Black MessiahThe ending is true, what is fiction and what happened next.
How accurate is Judas and the Black Messiah
Although Fred Hampton’s name does not appear as often as MLK or Malcolm X in history curricula, his story is vital to understanding the civil rights movement that emerged from the tumultuous 1960s. King and fellow writers Kenny and Keith Lucas understood this and sought to stay as true to the true story as possible, reaching out to Fred Hampton’s family, among others, for information. In an interview, the writers said Decider that the biggest assumptions they made involved Hoover’s knowledge of the raid that took Hampton’s life (which was recently confirmed) and O’Neal’s relationship with Mitchell. For the latter, they had to fill in some gaps, such as O’Neal’s information, available through the docu series Eyes on the prize presented at the end of Black messiah – is understandably unreliable.
What happened after Judas and the end of the Black Messiah?
After raiding Fred Hampton’s apartment, police immediately reported that their arrest team had been targeted by the “violent” and “extremely vicious” Panthers, even congratulating the officers on their restraint in not killing. everybody the Panthers present. Although the shots fired by the police outnumbered those fired by the 99 Panthers to one, it was the surviving Panthers who faced criminal charges rather than the police. Fred Hampton’s death during the police raid of his residence took into account The Chicago 7 trial through Hampton’s involvement with Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale. That trial continued in the wake of the Hampton murder. Ramsey Clark, also featured in Chicago 7, alleged with fellow activist Roy Wilkins that the Chicago police illegally killed Hampton and company during what constituted an illegal search and seizure, and that the Department imposed summary penalties on the remaining Panthers.
As for O’Neal, the film states in its epilogue that he continued to serve within the Panthers until the early 1970s. He later admitted his involvement with the FBI in their plans to dismantle the Panthers shortly before committing suicide on January 25. 1990. Members of Weather Underground launched a wave of retaliatory shelling against the police days after the raid. Hampton’s widow, Deborah, gave birth to her son, Fred Hampton, Jr., 25 days after the murder. He would go on to become president of the Prisoners of Conscience Committee and the Cubs of the Black Panther Party, titles he still holds today.
Did O’Neal Really Drug Fred Hampton (And With What?)
Reports indicate that this part of the film’s conclusion is true. In Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of SolidarityO’Neal is alleged to have slipped “a substantial dose of secobarbital into a glass of kool-aid” the night of the planned raid, leaving Hampton in a coma at the time of his murder. He had fallen asleep mid-sentence talking to his mother on the phone, further corroborating the presence of a sleeper agent. Deborah Johnson had to be forcibly removed from Hampton’s side as she did not respond to the commotion. In The Fred Hampton Murder: How the FBI and Chicago Police Killed a Black PantherCook County chemist Eleanor Berman was reported to have conducted two separate tests that presented evidence of barbiturates in Hampton’s blood, although he was not known to take drugs. The FBI could not find such evidence in its own tests, but then, your involvement presents a conflict of interest.
Why Hampton’s Death Doesn’t Free O’Neal From The FBI
Throughout the film, O’Neal makes several attempts to declare himself “outside” of this scheme. At every turn, Roy Mitchell reminds him that the sentence for his felony, which he avoided by agreeing to work with the Bureau, has not ended simply because of Hampton’s death. This is stated in his last line of the film, in regards to O’Neal’s statement that he is no longer a Panther: “Are you sure about that?“O’Neal continued to work for the Bureau within the Panthers until 1973, when he was transferred to California under a name changed under the Witness Protection Program.
How did O’Neal really feel about betraying Hampton?
This is difficult to determine given the unreliability of O’Neal’s direct quotes. Because you were caught in a threatening position between the intimidating Panthers and the even more intimidating Bureau, your personal testimony may be affected by fear of retaliation from either of these two organizations. In an article of the Chicago Reader Titled “The Last Hours of William O’Neal,” O’Neal’s uncle Ben Heard details his nephew’s fear, saying, “He said they had someone tied up and they were pouring hot water on his head. do something.” perhaps referencing informant George Sams. Heard went on to suggest that O’Neal was riddled with guilt for the rest of his life after Hampton’s murder: “I think he regretted doing what he did. He thought the FBI was just going to raid the house.” O’Neal’s suicide attempts would support this, and in the end, one of those attempts was successful.
Fred Hampton’s Black Panther legacy (and how it continues)
Jeffrey Haas, who wrote the aforementioned book The murder of Fred Hampton, commented that Chicago was worse off without the strong leadership of young Panther, with many young people on its West Side falling victim to drugs and gang violence. In its epilogue, the film describes the lawsuit by the families of the murdered Hampton and Mark Clark, which was the longest of its kind and was ultimately settled for $ 1.85 million. Hampton’s widow Akua Njeri (formerly Deborah Johnson) and her son, who took his father’s name at age 10, survive him and continue the fight for racial justice.
Modern Parallels and Real Meaning of Judas and the Black Messiah Explained
Director Shaka King said of his film during a virtual press event: “Our goal was really to make a film that captured 1968. But so little has changed between 1968 and 2021 that we don’t really have to draw parallels with today.” an interview with The Californian newspaper, the cast of Judas and the Black Messiah they discussed the relevance of their film in the current sociopolitical climate. Darrell Britt-Gibson, who played the founder of the Illinois Chapter of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Rush, spoke directly to how the story relates to the present: “Fifty years ago, President Fred Hampton was assassinated in his sleep, in his apartment, minding her own business. And last year, Breonna Taylor was murdered in her sleep, in her apartment, minding her own business. And in both cases justice was not served, so the parallels are there. “
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