Huey Percy Newton (February 17, 1942 – August 22, 1989)
Huey Newton was a Black American political and urban activist who, along with Bobby Seale, co-founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in 1966. Newton had a long series of confrontations with law enforcement, including several convictions, even while he participated in political activism and pursued an education, eventually earning a Ph.D. in social science.
The Black Panther Party was an African-American left-wing organization working for the right of self-defense for African-Americans in the United States. The Party achieved national and international impact and renown through their deep involvement in the Black Power movement and in politics of the 1960s and 1970s. The group’s “provocative rhetoric, militant posture, and cultural and political flourishes permanently altered the contours of American Identity” Newton and the Panthers 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 inmartial arts. According to Oakland County Supervisor John George: “Huey could take street-gang types and give them a social consciousness”.
On August 22, 1989, Newton was fatally shot on the 1400 block of 9th street in West Oakland by 24-year-old BGF member and drug dealer Tyrone Robinson. Newton’s last words, as he stood facing his killer, were, “You can kill my body, but you can’t kill my soul. My soul will live forever!” He was then shot two times in the face by Robinson. He was interred at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland.
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