You cannot mention the Black Panther Party without having Huey Newton come to mind. Huey Newton, was the co-founder of the black socialist party. The party was birthed at the height of the civil rights movement as an answer to the harassment and mistreatment of the black community within the United States.
Huey Newton was born Huey Perry Newton on February 17th, 1942 in Monroe, LA. In his youth his family moved several times finally settled at Oakland, CA. As a youth he was in and out of trouble with the law. After he graduated high school in 1959, he could not read. With sheer determination he taught himself to read. It is said that the first book that he read was Plato’s “Republic”. Once he taught himself to read he attended Merritt College.
While attending Merritt College, he met the other co-founder of The Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale . The two worked together to create the ten point program, that the party worked within. With the birth of the party his occupation was known as a civil rights activist since he was commented to the party and the movement.
Shortly after to conception of the party in 1966, Mr. Newton was arrested for the murder of officer John Frey in October of 1968. His arrest ignited the “Free Huey” movement, which called for his immediate release. Despite the public outcry he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 1969. He was sentenced to 2 to 15 years in prison.
To avoid prosecution he fled to Cuba in 1971. That same year he visited China with a small delegation. He was greeted by hundreds of supporters waving copies of Mao’s Red Book. The crowd had a high anti-Nixon overtone. He stayed in China for ten days, during his visit he met the ambassador of DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) and Tanzania, delegates from North Vietnam and Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam. Despite his expectation he did not meet with Mao Zedong. He did however meet with the First Premier of the People’s Republic of China, Zhou Enlai as well as Mao Zedong’s wife Jiang Qing.
After three years in exile, he returned back to the United States. A year after his return he was accused of killing seventeen year old Kathleen Smith. There was no conviction made with the murder.
Another key point within Mr. Newton’s life was in 1977, where he visited with Jim Jones. Mr. Jones was the leader the People’s Temple. Newton had a cousin that were one of the few survivors from te ordered mass suicide from the temple in 1978. He wrote and published his autobiography “Revolutionary Suicide” in 1973.
In 1980, Mr. Newton continued his education and earned a Ph.D from University of California in Santa Cruz. His dissertation was titled “War Against the Panthers: A Study of Repression in America“. Mr. Newton has been overlooked throughout history for some reason.
On August 22, 1989, Huey Newton was shot dead by Tyrone Robinson, a member of the Black Guerrilla Family. In Oakland, CA. Huey Newton is laid to rest at the Evergreen cemetery in Oakland, CA. Tyrone Robinson was convicted of murder in 1991 and sentenced to thirty-two years to life for the murder of Huey Newton.