The Rainbow Coalition (En route to Dayton and Armitage)

Stories from the Redline: Fire Fire Gentrifier

The Rainbow Coalition (En route to Dayton and Armitage)

Chicago, Illinois 60614, United States

Created By: National Public Housing Museum


The Rainbow Coalition was an antiracist, anticlass, multicultural movement led by Chicago activists Fred Hampton of the Black Panther Party, William "Preacherman" Fesperman of the Young Patriots Organization, and José Cha Cha Jiménez of the Young Lords. Since its inception, many other Black-led organizations have used iterations of the Rainbow Coalition’s name in their own movements, perhaps most notably, or infamously, by Reverend Jesse Jackson’s more moderate Rainbow PUSH Coalition.

The beginning of their alliance began when Hampton first met Jiménez in Lincoln Park, the day after the Young Lords were in the news after they had occupied the police community workshop meeting at the 18th District Police Station. Hampton and Jiménez would both be arrested in February 1969, which led the two, alongside Fesperman, to begin the coalition on April 4 of the same year.

The Rainbow Coalition, which included the local organization Lincoln Park Poor People's Coalition was eventually joined by Students for a Democratic Society, the Brown Berets, the American Indian Movement, and the Red Guard Party. The groups would support each other at strikes, protests, demonstrations, and fighting for causes which included combating poverty, political corruption, police brutality, housing discrimination, and more.

This multicultural, working class, socially conscious coalition, was met with extreme reactions and pressure from different government agencies, and by the end of 1969, founder Fred Hampton and fellow Black Panther, Mark Clark, were assassinated in an apartment building on 2337 W. Monroe by 14 plainclothes police officers, armed with ​​machine guns, shotguns, pistols, and a detailed map of the apartment they were raiding.

Sources: “Rainbow Coalition (Fred Hampton) - Wikipedia.” Rainbow Coalition (Fred Hampton) - Wikipedia, 10 Apr. 2020,

Roos, D. (2021, January 29). The 1969 raid that killed Black Panther leader Fred Hampton. Retrieved October 6, 2022, from

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This point of interest is part of the tour: Stories from the Redline: Fire Fire Gentrifier


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