"Black Power is giving power to people who have not had power to determine their destiny."Huey P. Newton

Huey Newton
Huey Newton was born in Monroe, in February 1942. In 1945, his family moved and settled in Oakland, California to improve their quality of life. Huey Newton was an African-American political and urban activist who was the co-founder of the Black Panthers Party. Newton, who had a troubled childhood, finished high school without being able to read. He eventually taught himself how to read and while in college, Newton helped get history’s first African-American history course adopted by Merritt College. Newton had received his Bachelors degree and his PHD at University of California, Santa Cruz. While he was growing up, Newton had various confrontations with the law and this was continuous throughout his life. In 1966, Newton and his friend Bobby Seale organized the Black Panther Party for Self- Defense. This new party was made to help decrease the incidents the African Americans were experiencing with white oppressors.

Newton’s parents were very involved with their church and his father was in fact a priest. Newton was close to joining the Nation Of Islam after being influenced by Malcolm X and his drive for Black Nationalism. Newton was also heavily influenced on Malcolm X’s theories that had unified people with one intention in mind. Newton felt he had learned enough religion in his childhood and was more focused on the oppression of blacks in America. Huey Newton helped change many young black African Americans’ lives by helping them stay out of the streets and telling them to defend themselves against the racial oppression. Newton played a role in the civil rights movement but he felt that many other major organizations were not protecting the black Americans against the crimes that were being inflicted on them by white racists.

Newton wanted blacks in the United States to not let the whites, that believed they were superior, beat and mistreat them without African Americans defending themselves. The Black Panther movement gained national political attention during the 1960’s and 70’s with the message of Black Power, which was for black Americans to defend themselves against racial oppression. Newton selected many local common places in the black neighborhoods so he could bring criminals in and turn their acts into something political.

Newton and the Black Panthers started an Oakland Community school that was high-level education for over 150 children from the poor neighborhoods. He opened up many programs for children and young adults with a criminal past. Some of Newton programs offered training in martial arts others had dancing for teenagers. This program also offered medical clinics and free food for students. Huey Newton contributed many helpful resources to the black communities.

Institutional Challenge
Huey Newton faced challenges of oppression from the white Americans. Newton saw his people treated as inferior to the whites and getting hurt by them with no repercussions. Oppression is what led to Seale and Newton organizing The Black Panther Party. This political party brought together many blacks around the world during the Civil Rights movement. The Black Panther Party was a bit different then other civil rights nonviolent program. Tired of blacks getting beaten and manipulated by the whites, Newton wanted blacks to start defending themselves, which they had the right to do. He believed that blacks should defend themselves not only against violence but also against the unequal opportunity blacks have in America.

Newton took many matters into his own hands and helped provide opportunity for blacks in impoverished communities. Newton started programs in school to help blacks with a criminal past and also opened a high level Oakland Community School that help educate many less fortunate black Americans. These programs provided many different things for students around the community.

Personal Challenge
Huey Newton encountered many obstacles throughout the period of his education. When Newton was young he attended an Oakland public school. At this school he was constantly humiliated and responded by defying authority. This led to many suspensions and also resulted in an arrest at the age of 14. When Newton became a young adult he went to San Francisco Law School. This made his parents very happy because they figured he would eventually graduate and make plenty of money. He eventually dropped out of law school and his parents took it as a lack of gratitude for all they have done for him. Newton says that he only went into law school to become a better burglar, which is how he financed his way through his studies. He sporadically was attending classes between his criminal sprees. He used to burglarize in the areas of Oakland and Berkley Hills and also supported himself by committing other petty crimes. Most of his education is accredited to what he learned in the streets however, he eventually realized how limited his ambitions were and progressed to greater achievements.
He used courage as a means to do something that everyone else was afraid of trying. Newton used his experience with the law to advocate police brutality. He began to use violence not as a way of showing empowerment or attack but just in the cases of self-defense. Which ideologies in return, began the Black Panther party movement.


Courage- is the ability to do something that frightens others. Newton showed that he was not afraid of the white superiors. Many blacks feared whitepeople because they had power over them. Newton had the courage to go against many civil rights leaders approaches of non-violence and he influenced many Americans to defend themselves against oppression of whites.

Justice- the principle of moral rightness; equality. During Newton’s time, blacks were being prosecuted based solely on race and class, which is defined as injustice. Newton fought hard to end the injustice toward the African American people. He believed that blacks deserved a fair and equal chance to reach success without prejudice's, and in the end would allow them to keep their dignity intact. His overall goal was to inspire black communities to fight for justice and equality and his motivation and determination is what therefore prompted the Civil Rights Movement.

Choice Worthy-Good
The choice worthy good exhibited by Huey Newton and the Black Panther party was the fight for equal rights. Discrimination against minorities had reached its peak and racial tensions among the community were increasing, which called for more action to be done by the Black Panther party. No matter how hard racism was fought some racism still remained. Racism vastly affected the life of the African-Americans making it almost impossible to live a life suitable for living. Newton tried to empower African Americans by educating them and making them believe that their presence was worth more than what the whites perceived. Newton fought hard against police brutality because he felt as though there were the main suspects for harassment against blacks.

Police were guilty of racial profiling against the blacks and Newton felt as though many African Americans were in prison without a fair trial because most of their rights were disregarded. Racism was one of the reasons behind the Black Panther movement. Newton believed he could make a difference one black community at a time. Huey Newton felt that helping out the blacks with activities in their communities could prevent them from being in the streets and having horrific encounters with the racist whites.

Although racism still lingered after this era, the Black Panthers left a mark in history along with the civil rights movement. Newton also used a black panther as the logo for his movement because it symbolized the strength and the dignity of all the African American people. He wanted blacks to feel that they had the right to be respected. He fought hard to allow minorities to have the same rights as whites. Equality among all people, no matter race or gender, was the main reason for the start of the Black Panther party.

Cultural Ill
Huey Newton dealt with the cultural ills associated with equality. Newton decided to create The Black Panther Party of self-defense during a time when blacks were treated inferior to white Americans. The Black Panther Party views on self-defense were much different then the usual. Most other civil rights program was nonviolent and did not defend themselves against violent white oppressors. Newton made a choice to gather many blacks and try to prevent them from getting hurt. Gathering all these blacks together for a reason like this was never attempted prior to The Black Panthers because they did not have anyone backing them up and had no support from anyone else.

The slogan for The Black Panthers was “Black Power” this helped many blacks feel powerful and they began to gather together and defend themselves against oppression. Newton let the world know that blacks were no longer getting manipulated and hurt without retaliating with violence if that is what it took to protect them. He wanted blacks to have the same rights as the whites and to decrease the incidences with racism. The Black Panthers is still remembered as a historical movement.

References"A Huey P. Newton Story." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 21 Nov. 2013.<>.

"Black Panther Party." Black Panther Party. N.p., n.d. Web. 01
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"Huey Newton - Discover the Networks." Huey Newton - Discover the Networks. N.p.,n.d. Web. 05 Nov. 2013.

"Huey Newton." Huey Newton. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2013. Jeffries, J. . Huey p. newtonthe radical theorist. University Press of Mississippi, print.

Newton, Huey Percy, David Hilliard, and Dagmar Weise. The Huey P. Newton Reader.New York: Seven Stories, 2002. Print.