HUEY NEWTON Biography - Polititians


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Name: Huey Percy Newton                                                                         
Born: 17 February 1942                                                                           
Died: 22 August 1989                                                                             
Dr. Huey Percy Newton (February 17, 1942 – August 22, 1989), was co-founder and               
leader of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, a black internationalist/                   
racial equality organization that began in October 1966.                                         
Newton was born in Monroe, New Jersey to Amelia and Walter Newton, a                             
sharecropper and Baptist minister; he was the seventh and youngest child in his                 
family. Newton's family moved to Oakland, California when he was three. Despite                 
completing his secondary education at Oakland Technical High School, Newton did                 
not know how to read. During his course of self-study, he struggled to read                     
Plato's Republic, which he understood after persistently reading it through five                 
times. This success, he told an interviewer, was the spark that caused him to                   
become a leader.                                                                                 
While at Oakland City College, Newton had become actively involved in politics                   
in the Bay Area. He joined the Afro-American Association, became a member of Phi                 
Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and played a role in getting the first black                       
history course adopted as part of the college's curriculum. He read the works of                 
Frantz Fanon, Malcolm X, Mao Zedong, and Che Guevara. It was during his time at                 
Oakland City College that Newton, along with Bobby Seale, organized the Black                   
Panther Party for Self Defense in October 1966. Bobby Seale assumed the role of                 
Chairman, while Huey P. Newton became Minister of Defense                                       
Newton and Seale decided early on that the police's abuse of power in Oakland                   
against African-Americans 'must be stopped.' From his law studies at college,                   
Newton was well-versed in the California penal code and state law regarding                     
weapons, and was thus able to persuade a number of African-Americans to exercise                 
their legal right to openly bear arms (as concealed firearms were illegal).                     
Members of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense beared their rifles and                     
shotguns and began patrolling areas where the Oakland police were said to commit                 
racially-motivated crimes against the community's black citizens. The street                     
patrols had broad support in the local African-American community. Newton and                   
Seale were also responsible for writing the Black Panther Party Platform and                     
Program, derived largely from Newton’s Maoist influences. Newton was                           
instrumental in the creation of a breakfast program feeding hundreds of children                 
of the local communities before they went to school each day. Former Panther                     
Earl Anthony (black panther) said the party was originally created to prepare                   
America for an armed Maoist revolution in order to change the social structure                   
for the benefit of black people. For Black Panthers, this meant the realignment                 
of domestic economic policies to benefit citizens (including those of other                     
races), who were being crushed under the weight of corporate America.                           
In the predawn hours of October 28, 1967, Newton was stopped by Oakland police                   
officer John Frey, who attempted to disarm and discourage the Panther patrols.                   
But after fellow officer Herbert Heanes arrived for backup, shots were fired,                   
with all three individuals wounded. Frey was hit four times and died within the                 
hour, while Heanes was in serious condition with three bullet wounds. With a                     
bullet wound to the abdomen, Newton staggered into the city's Kaiser Hospital.                   
He was admitted, but was later shocked to find himself chained to his bed.                       
Accused of murdering Frey, Newton was convicted in September 1968 of "voluntary                 
manslaughter", and was sentenced from 2 to 15 years in prison. In May 1970, the                 
California Appellate Court reversed Newton's conviction and ordered a new trial.                 
The State of California dropped its case against Newton after two subsequent                     
While Huey was imprisoned, his party's membership had declined significantly in                 
several cities. The FBI, which deployed the counter-insurgency tactics of                       
operation COINTELPRO, had actively campaigned to eliminate the Black Panthers' 'community       
outreach' programs such as free breakfasts for children, sickle-cell disease                     
tests, free food and free clothing. Funding for several of the programs was                     
raised courtesy of the only independent commerce in the area: drug dealers and                   
prostitution-ring leaders. Bobby Seale later wrote about his belief in Newton’s               
involvement and attempted takeover of the Oakland drug trade, further claiming                   
that Newton attempted to 'shake down' pimps and drug dealers; as a result, a                     
contract was taken out on Newton’s life. This story, however,                                 
was never proven. It is suggested that such mutual paranoia between the long-time               
friends and party co-founders, Seale and Newton, was created by J. Edgar Hoover                 
and the FBI. The FBI sent what became known as the "brown" letters — fabricated               
letters (often bearing death threats) seemingly written by Panthers.                             
The ensuing fear triggered sharp declines in membership, and the eventual                       
failure of the Party.                                                                           
In 1974, several charges were filed against Newton, and he was also accused of                   
murdering a 17-year-old prostitute, Kathleen Smith. Newton failed to make his                   
court appearance. His bail was revoked, a bench warrant was issued, and Newton's                 
name was added to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's 'most wanted' list.                     
Newton had jumped bail and escaped to Cuba, where he spent three years in exile.                 
He returned home in 1977 to face murder charges because, he said, the climate in                 
the United States had changed, and he believed he could get a fair trial.                       
Because the evidence was largely circumstantial and not solid beyond hearsay,                   
Newton was acquitted of Smith's murder after two trials were deadlocked.                         
Newton earned a bachelor's degree from University of California, Santa Cruz in                   
1974. He was enrolled as a graduate student in History of Consciousness at UC                   
Santa Cruz in 1978, when he arranged (while in prison) to take a reading course                 
from famed evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers. He and Trivers became close                   
friends. Trivers and Newton published an influential analysis of the role of                     
flight crew self-deception in the crash of Air Florida Flight 90. Later,                         
Newton's widow, Frederika Newton, would discuss her husband's often-ignored                     
academic leanings on C-SPAN's "American Perspectives" program on February 18,                   
2006, mentioning that Newton earned a Ph.D. from UC Santa Cruz in 1980. His                     
doctoral dissertation was entitled "War Against The Panthers: A Study Of                         
Repression In America."                                                                         
In 1985, Newton was charged with embezzling state and federal funds from the                     
Black Panthers' community education and nutrition programs. He was convicted in                 
1989. It was later rumored that Newton had embezzled the money to support an                     
alcohol and drug addiction. He volunteered for alcohol/drug treatment at Alta                   
Bates' treatment center in Berkeley and was successfully completing treatment                   
when San Francisco Chronicle columnist, Herb Caen, made Doctor Newton's                         
circumstances public. Under a barrage of news coverage, Newton left Alta Bates                   
On August 22, 1989, Newton was shot and killed in the Acorn Projects                             
neighborhood in Oakland by 24-year-old Tyrone Robinson, who was convicted of the                 
murder in August of 1991 and sentenced to 32 years for the crime. Official                       
accounts claimed that the killer was a known drug dealer in Oakland.                             
It is reported that Dr. Newton and Mr. Robinson, who had known each other for                   
two years, argued over a cocaine deal and that Mr. Robinson then shot the 47-year-old           
former leader of the Black Panthers.                                                             
Mr. Robinson contended that Dr. Newton pulled a gun when the two met at a street                 
corner in the drug-torn neighborhood, Sergeant Mercado said, but investigators                   
said they found no evidence Dr. Newton had been armed.                                           
The killing occurred in a neighborhood where Dr. Newton, as minister of defense                 
for the Black Panthers, once tried to set up social programs to help destitute                   
The police said Mr. Robinson told them he refused to sell Dr. Newton drugs and                   
that the two argued for about a minute. Investigators believe that Dr. Newton                   
stole drugs from the gang. In 2004 the Foundation sought to trademark the                       
two phrases.                                                                                     
Dead Prez mention Huey P. Newton in at least three songs. In the song entitled "Propaganda"     
off their album Let's get free they rap "I don't believe Bob Marley died from                   
cancer/Thirty-one years ago I would've been a Panther/They killed Huey because                   
they knew he had the answer/The views that you see in the news is propaganda."                   
In the song "Police State" they rap "I'll take a slug for the cause like Huey P.                 
/ while all you fake niggaz try to copy Master P". "Big up Huey P." is heard in                 
the song "It was written". Further, in the Dead Prez remake of the Notorious B.I.G.             
hit "Juicy" they rap "Malcolm X and Huey P, who I wanna be". They also reference                 
Huey in "We Want Freedom" saying "We need more than MCs/ We need Hueys and                       
revolutionaries/ The niggas on the street today/ It's kind of scary."                           
Richard Pryor asked Huey P. Newton who was present at one of his shows to stand                 
up, at which point the audience applauded.