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Huey Newton (1942-1989)

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Black Panther Party Minister of Defense Huey Newton speaks at a press conference in New York City on Saturday, Aug. 22, 1970.

Named for populist Louisiana politician Huey Long, Huey P. Newton co-founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense with college friend Bobby Seale in October 1966. Newton, who was attending law school and was well versed in constitutional rights, became the party's minister of defense and participated in monitoring an Oakland police force notorious for its brutality towards African Americans. Newton would be shot in the stomach by those he dubbed "pigs" early in the morning of October 28, 1967, and tried for murder in the death of a police officer. The resulting "Free Huey" movement was successful; Newton's manslaughter conviction was overturned and he was released in 1970. At its zenith Newton's Black Panther Party ran a phenomenal number of community programs providing free breakfast, clothing, shoes, housing, health, education, job training and legal aid to people in need. Newton's life ended in violence; an Oakland drug dealer gunned him down in 1989.

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