Dana Chandler’s Fred Hampton’s Doors

Fred Hampton’s Door 2 (1975), installed in Soul of A Nation at The Brooklyn Museum, image:gregcookland

Getting the colors of that Melvin Edwards X Blinky Palermo joint in my head was like learning a new word: you start hearing it everywhere. Like in Dana Chandler’s 1975 painting, Fred Hampton’s Door 2, which is in Soul of the Nation at the Brooklyn Museum. Greg Cook has a great post on Wonderland about Chandler, a prominent Black Power acivist and artist from Boston, who painted at least two versions of Fred Hampton’s Door, complete with [bullet] holes, to memorialize the young Black Panther leader and to protest his murder at the hand of Chicago police.

Chandler’s painting in Soul of a Nation was made in 1975, after his original 1970 painting was stolen from Expo ’74 in Spokane, Washington. The original was a framed painting of a section of Hampton’s door; the second version was actually a door. Both had holes that are meant to be read as bullet holes. The original had one big white star that read (to me, anyway) as an armed forces service star; the second one has a cluster of four stars, arranged like an admiral’s insignia. But the dominant colors are Pan-African red and green.

Dana C. Chandler, Jr. posing for Time Magazine (6 Apr 1970) with a 1970 painting then titled, Freddie Hampton’s Door.

This is the only photo I’ve seen of the original painting; it ran as a full page in Time Magazine in April 1970, illustrating an article on Angry Black Artists [sic].

Dana Chandler’s Memorial To Murdered Black Panter Fred Hampton [wonderland]
Dana Chandler’s website [getalivinglegend.com]