African American Heritage

Huey P. Newton

Huey P. Newton was born in Monroe, Louisiana. His parents moved to Oakland, California during Newton’s childhood. He taught himself to read after graduating high school without being able to. He attended a variety of schools including Merritt College before eventually earning a Bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. from University of California at Santa Cruz. During his tenure at Merritt College, Newton joined the Afro-American Association and played a role in getting the first African-American History course adopted into the college’s curriculum. Soon after, in October 1966, he and Bobby Seale founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Seale became the Chairman and Newton became the Minister of Defense. 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. Many of its beliefs were influenced by Malcolm X and his views. The Party’s political goals which were outlined in the Ten Point Program,included better housing, jobs, and education. They believed that violence, or at least the threat of violence, may be needed to bring about social change.

The Black Panther Party, under the leadership of Newton, gained international support. This was most demonstrated when Newton was invited to visit China in 1970. At every airport that he arrived in, Newton was greeted by thousands of people waving copies of the little red book and displaying signs supporting the BPP and criticizing U.S. imperialism. Huey Newton was tried for a variety of violent offenses such as assault and multiple murders. These charges resulted in him fleeing to Havana, Cuba to escape prosecution for three years. Upon his return, he stood trials for one more assault and murder and was acquitted of both charges.

In 1989, Newton was fatally shot in West Oakland by a member of the Black Guerilla Family and drug dealer named Tyrone Robinson. Relations between the Black Panther Party and the Black Guerilla Family had been strained for nearly twenty years prior to this incident. The murder occurred after Newton left a crack house in a neighborhood where Newton had once organized social programs. Newton’s last words were, “You can kill my body, and you can take my life but you can never kill my soul. My soul will live forever!” Robinson then shot Newton twice in the face. Huey Newton is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland. Tyrone Robinson was convicted of murder in 1991 and was sentenced to 32 years to life.

Record Group 59: Department of State

Central Foreign Policy Files, 1973-1979 National Archives Identifier 654098

Selected Records
Electronic Telegrams, 1973 ( NAID 654231
Electronic Telegrams, 1974 ( NAID 654242
Electronic Telegrams, 1977 ( NAID 5665410

The electronic records in this series can be searched online via the Access to Archival Databases (AAD) system. The telegrams on AAD include only unclassified, unrestricted files which have been determined to be of permanent historical value. Please search for 'Huey Newton'.

Record Group 60: Department of Justice (DOJ)

Subject Files of the Attorney General, 1975-1993 ( National Archives Identifier 651799)

Selected Records
[Bell, Griffin B.] Huey P. Newton ( NAID 3984747)
[Bell, Griffin B.] Huey P. Newton ( NAID 4673229)

Record Group 65: Federal Bureau of Investigation

Classification 44 (Civil Rights) Case Files

Please use the Find function in your browser to search for 'Huey Newton' or 'Huey P. Newton'

Classification 157 (Civil Unrest) Case Files

Please use the Find function in your browser to search for 'Huey Newton' or 'Huey P. Newton'

RN-WHCA: White House Communications Agency (Nixon)

White House Video Recordings, 1969-1974 National Archives Identifier: 567827

Finding Aid - 1971 Titles