Former Black Panther leader Bobby Rush, who transitioned to politics and became a prominent U.S. Congressman out of Chicago, has announced he is ending his illustrious 30-year career in Washington.
Rush is also renowned for being the only man who defeated up-and-coming state Sen. Barack Obama for the congressional seat back in 2000.
Rush, 75, will officially announce his retirement from his congressional seat after his 15th term on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022, at Roberts Temple Church of God in Christ. It is the famous temple that held the funeral for Emmett Till in 1955 — an event that became a clarion call for the Civil Rights Movement that Rush was an integral part of.
In fact, Rush was a leader in the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. He worked alongside BPP leader Fred Hampton in Chicago in the late 1960s before Hampton and Mark Clark were assassinated by Chicago police. Their story was played out in the critically acclaimed film, Judas and the Black Messiah.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Hampton told journalist Lynn Sweet that his decision came not long after a conversation with his 19-year-old grandson who wanted to know more about him.
“I don’t want my grandchildren … to know me from a television news clip or something they read in a newspaper,” Rush said. “I want them to know me on an intimate level, know something about me, and I want to know something about them. I don’t want to be a historical figure to my grandchildren.”
During his career as a Black Panther leader and then a congressman, Rush never lost his verve for social justice advocacy. Below is Rush’s protest at the U.S. Capitol following the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin. He was immediately escorted out of the chambers for wearing a hoodie instead of a suit.
Link to Original Rolling Out