The assassination of Chicago Black Panther Party leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark happened 47 years ago on December 4, 1969. While Hampton and Clark’s murders were rightly front and center, the wounding of the Chicago Panthers’ Minister of Heath Ronald “Doc” Satchel is often forgotten.
Satchel, then 19, joined the organization after seeing the dynamic Hampton speak. Satchel was a key asset in the Panthers’ free breakfast program and was part of setting into motion a free medical care program with an emphasis on sickle-cell treatment. Satchel worked for Dr. Tolbert Small, who was the Oakland Panthers chapter’s physician. The health care program was a national program with the common aim of assisting poor people, especially those of color.
Satchel, a former University of Illinois student, was among others injured during the raid. Chicago police stormed Hampton’s apartment, which served as a base for Panthers operations. Brenda Harris, another former University of Illinois student, Blair Anderson and Verlina Brewer were all wounded. Satchel and Anderson’s injuries were reported to be especially serious at the time.
Not much information exists on Satchel’s life after the raid, although there are accounts that his injuries hampered him later in life. According to an obituary, Satchel continued to work on health initiatives with the Panthers.
Satchel passed in January 2013.