Judas and The Black Messiah: How Fred Hampton’s Story Portrayed the Gospel
The movie “Judas and The Black Messiah” tells a vivid story of the life of a revolutionary Black Panther Party leader from Chicago, IL Fred Hampton. The film detailed parts of his legacy and how he united the disenfranchised working class of Black, White, and Latino people.
In a short-lived 21 year life, he educated everyone on revolutionary politics, fed entire communities, taught self-defense classes, and uplifted the poor. He made a huge impact worldwide before being gunned down in his apartment by Chicago police while laying next to his pregnant wife.
I can vividly remember being told the stories about the Black Panther Party during my youth. They were stories explaining how they created a unique infrastructure in our hometown of Chicago, in the face of racism and civil injustice.
Hearing the stories of old left an impression on my heart and built faith within me. I heard stories of how they protected the communities from racist police, stories explaining how they fed everyone in the communities daily for free. And stories of how they taught free self-defense classes on the corners and how they forced drug dealers out of the communities.
When I watched “Judas and The Black Messiah” it sent me through a few different emotions. Though much hasn’t changed today, I wondered where I would be with my faith living in such a time like that? I’ve seen the effects of those who experienced living in what’s considered the most segregated city in the world when these things occurred in Chicago. The trauma left many scarred but also brought unity and a sense of loving your neighbor in that specific moment.
The gospel informs us how the disciples gathered for Passover with Jesus. When Jesus mentioned one of you will betray me, I can imagine some of their hearts dropped in shock. Though I wouldn’t consider the main character Fred Hampton the “Black Messiah,” but a great leader with many gifts and a heart for impoverished and undereducated people of all races. He too was betrayed by someone in his immediate circle.
It’s significant to Black history for a small piece of Fred Hampton’s legacy to reach Hollywood. Growing up in Chicago as a kid in the faith, understanding the Black Panther Party organized in the same streets for the sake of bettering the people brought a sense of honor then and in my adult life to serve God and my community.
This film will register with many in multiple different ways and some will feel disconnected. Furthermore, the storyline has some correlations to the gospel and I felt an urge to share my personal experience.