Huey P. Newton
by Harry Dhillon
“To die for the racists is lighter than a feather. But to die for the people is heavier than any mountain and deeper than any sea.” –Huey P. Newton
This paper focuses on the life and early contributions of Huey P. Newton. It illustrates the struggles faced by African Americans in the east Oakland community and explains how Huey P. Newton was able to advocate national change from the bottom up. Originally born in a small town in Louisiana and later moving with his family to Oakland, California, Huey P. Newton became the co-founder and leader of the Black Panther Party for over two decades.
Huey P. Newton has been a hero to radicals of every description. His impact on the east Oakland community reaches far and wide. Through working class politics and social programs, Huey P. Newton was able to successfully mobilize social change within the black community. The Black Panther organization was central to the Black Power movement, and made headlines with its inflammatory rhetoric and militaristic style.
Unlike many of the other social and political organizers of the time, the Black Panthers took a militant stance, advocating the possession of guns by African Americans, and were often seen carrying weapons. The group believed that violence or the threat of violence was necessary to bring about social change. They set forth their political goals in a document called the Ten-Point Program, which included better housing, jobs, and education for African Americans. The program also called for an end to economic exploitation of black communities in America. The Black Panthers wanted to improve life in black communities and establish social programs to help those in need.
They also fought against police brutality in black neighborhoods by patrolling the streets. Members of the group would go to arrests in progress and watch for abuse in order to help their fellow community member. Huey P. Newton was arrested in 1967 for allegedly killing an Oakland police officer during a traffic stop. He was later convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to two to 15 years in prison. However, public pressure, and the popular "Free Huey" slogan helped Newton's cause. The case was eventually dismissed after two retrials ended with hung juries.
Today, Huey P. Newton is recognized as a hero. He was able to channel the daily struggles for survival in his community into larger political actions. His contributions to the Black Panther Party and his community are remembered and admired till this day.
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