Architecture & History | Famous Local History, Family Fun, Uniquely Local

Fred Hampton Pool

Meet us where a dream came true

Maywood is home to the Fred Hampton Pool, a historic pool that bears the name of the legendary civil rights activist who campaigned for the non-segregated public recreation space in his hometown.

Growing up in Maywood, Fred Hampton didn’t have a nearby public pool where he could swim. The closest pool was in Melrose Park and it was whites only.

As a young man working with the NAACP, Hampton organized trips for the youth of Maywood to attend a pool five miles away in Brookfield that allowed Black people to swim. This inspired him to lobby for an unrestricted public pool for the people of Maywood.

Ultimately, through organized public rallies, he secured his dream for an inclusive public recreation space, garnering support and even funding for the pool. Unfortunately, he wouldn’t live long enough to see the ribbon-cutting.

Some people believe that it was actually the clashes with police that occurred during the pool rallies that inspired Hampton to join the Black Panther Party.

Whatever it was that inspired him to join, Hampton rose through the ranks quickly. By 1969, he was chairman of the Illinois Black Panthers and deputy chairman of the national Party - honors that also landed him on the FBI’s “radical threat” watchlist.

In the early hours of Dec. 4, 1969, Hampton was killed in a coordinated raid on his apartment by the Chicago Police Department and the FBI. Today, many scholars and historians consider Hampton’s death an assassination.

After his death, the Maywood Village Board voted to name the public pool after Fred Hampton to honor his legacy.

Today, Maywood’s Fred Hampton Family Aquatic Center boasts water slides, picnic tables, and unrestricted family pool time. Outside, there is a bust of Fred Hampton on the path that leads to the public pool.

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The pool is open seasonally and it closes when the weather is bad. Check the West Cool YMCA schedule for public pool times.

You can visit the bust that is dedicated to Fred Hampton at any time.

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The Fred Hampton Pool is a public recreation space managed and operated by the West Cook YMCA.

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The Fred Hampton Family Aquatic Center is just one block from the Maywood Stop on the Union Pacific West Metra.

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