HUEY NEWTON


"Huey represented the new nigger: brazen, confrontational, cocky... In many ways, Newton epitomizes the tragic hero. We did not understand the man and his complexity, nor did we understand why we believed in him so strongly," said Roger Nieboer, author of Servant of the People. This was the view many people had of Huey, although his FBI predators called him "nothing more than a gangster" and "an intimidator". Born on February 17, 1942, he was named after a radical politician in the NAACP, Huey P. Long. When Huey Newton and his family moved to Oakland California, he met Bobby Seale, and together they formed the BPP. Following the words of Malcolm X, "to take a stand and defend [themselves]", he and Seale tried to rally many people to this new organization and get a message across to the people. In October of 1966, he and Seale wrote the Ten-Point Platform, a document that listed the party's demands for the rights of all oppressed people, especially Blacks. In 1967, as Minister of Defense, Newton drew much attention to the BPP when he led a few others to go to the state capitol of California armed with guns. From this point on, the police and FBI agents made it their goal to put Newton in jail. Soon after in October of 1967, Newton became involved in a shoot-out in Oakland, California and, while he suffered from wounds, and was convicted for voluntary manslaughter in killing one of the policemen. This created a huge burst of cries from supporters of the BPP to “Free Huey”. By the time Newton was released, he put less emphasis on political violence and drew his focus more towards helping the people by the free breakfast programs and clinics already set up. The party became split in two when Eldridge Cleaver, the minister of information for the BPP, disagreed with Huey's "putting down the gun." In 1973, Huey Newton published his book, Revolutionary Suicide, an account of his experiences and views. In the late 1970s, Newton went back to college at the University of California to study social philosophy. He was able to get his Ph.D., but sadly, he was shot on August of 1989 on the streets. Huey Newton’s legacy still lives on in memory of his revolutionary spirit, and also, the “Huey P. Newton Foundation” continues to preserve his teachings as a BPP leader.