Dr. Huey Percy Newton
February 17, 1942– August 22, 1989
African-American political activist and revolutionary, who along with Bobby Seale co-founded the Black Panther Party in 1966.
Bachelor’s degree in 1974
Ph.D. in social philosophy at the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1980.
Huey was born in Monroe, Louisiana to Walter Newton and Armelia. He was the youngest of seven siblings. He attended and graduated from Oakland Technical High School in 1959.
After high school he enrolled in Merritt College in Oakland, California.
He started to be involved in political activism after joining the Afro-American Association. He became a prominent member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, Beta Tau chapter; and played a role in getting the first African-American history course adopted as part of the college’s curriculum. During that time at Merritt College, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale organized and founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in October 1966. The organization was a left-wing organization working for the right of self-defense for African Americans in the United States. The Party achieved national and international renown through their deep involvement in the Black Power movement and in politics of the 1960s and 1970s
“I have had enough of religion and could not bring myself to adopt another one. I needed a more concrete understanding of social conditions. References to God or Allah did not satisfy my stubborn thirst for answers.”
Huey and the Panthers were a force to be reckoned with and a strong army for the voice of African Americans in America. They started a number of social programs in Oakland, including founding the Oakland Community School, which provided high-level education to 150 children from impoverished urban neighborhoods. Other Panther programs included the Free Breakfast for Children Program and others that offered dances for teenagers and training in martial arts. According to Oakland County Supervisor John George: “Huey could take street-gang types and give them a social consciousness
He had a long series of confrontations with law enforcement, including several convictions, while he participated in political activism.
Huey continued his education studies and enrolled in the University of California the graduated and received his bachelor’s degree in 1974 and went on to earn his Ph.D. in social philosophy at the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1980.His doctoral dissertation was entitled War Against the Panthers: A Study of Repression in America.
In 1982, Newton was accused of embezzling $600,000 of state aid to the Panther-founded Oakland Community School. In the wake of the embezzlement charges, Newton disbanded the Black Panther Party. After six years, the embezzlement charges were dropped in March 1989, after Newton pleaded no contest to a single allegation of cashing a $15,000 state check for personal use. Newton was sentenced to six months in jail and 18 months probation. Newton spent time in prison for manslaughter due to his alleged involvement in a shooting that killed a police officer, but was later acquitted. In 1989 he was shot and killed on Center Street in the Lower Bottoms neighborhood of West Oakland by 24-year old Tyrone “Double R” Robinson, a member of the Black Guerrilla Family (a prison and street gang founded in 1966 by George Jackson and W.L. Nolen while they were incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison in Marin County, California). Tyrone Robinson was convicted of the murder in 1991. He was sentenced to a prison term of 32 years to life.
His legacy for equality lives on. He was married to Fredrika Newton. After his death she went on to do many interviews and letting the world know the truth about her spouse and his academic achievements.
Huey Newton was interred at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland.
1- Huey Newton Speaks oral history by Huey P. Newton (Paredon Records, 1970)
2- Huey!: Listen Whitey! Protest songs/spoken word by Huey P. Newton; produced by American Documentary Films; released by Folkways Records (1972)
3- To Die for the People: The Writings of Huey P. Newton Toni Morrison (editor) (Random House, 1972)
4- Revolutionary Suicide with J. Herman Blake (Random House, 1973; republished in 1995 with introduction by Blake)
5- Insights and Poems by Huey P. Newton, Ericka Huggins 1975)
6-War Against the Panthers: A Study of Repression in America by Huey P. Newton (Harlem River Press, 1996: the published version of Newton’s PhD thesis)
7- The Huey P. Newton Reader David Hilliard and Donald Weise (editors) (Seven Stories Press, 2002)
8-Essays from the Minister of Defense by Huey P Newton, Black Panther Party, 1968, Oakland (Pamphlet)
9-The Genius of Huey P. Newton by Huey P. Newton, Awesome Records (June 1, 1993)
10- The original vision of the Black Panther Party by Huey P Newton, Black Panther Party (1973)
11- Huey Newton talks to the movement about the Black Panther Party, cultural nationalism, SNCC, liberals and white revolutionaries by Huey P Newton
11- Huey Spirit of the Panther by David Hillard with Keith and Kent Zimmerman (Thunder’s Mouth Press)
12- To Die for the People by Huey Newton (City Lights Publishers, 2009)