Huey Newton Statue Unveiled In West Oakland
On Sunday, Oct. 24, a statue of Black Panther co-founder Huey Newton was unveiled in West Oakland, California.
Created by artist Dana King, the statue was sculpted in bronze and sits two blocks from where Newton was killed. King told Oakland Voices about sculpting the statue, “I wanted him to be as realistic as possible. I don’t want there to be any confusion about him being a man. A human being. I wanted to honor the beauty with which he was sculpted by God.”
According to the Associated Press, guests at the unveiling ceremony included Gina Belafonte, Harry Belafonte’s daughter, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Chairman Fred Hampton Jr. (son of Chicago chapter Black Panther Fred Hampton), and Dr. Melvin Newton, Huey Newton’s brother.
Fredrika Newton, widow of Huey and co-founder and president of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, was also in attendance.
Newton was born in Monroe, Louisiana on Feb. 17, 1842. Newton would go on to become a co-founder of the Black Panther Party, a paramilitary political organization that aimed to create social programs for Blacks stifled by racial discrimination. Newton would be a central figure of the Black power movement of the 1960s.
On Oct. 15, 1966, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was co-founded by Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California.
The messages of Black self-determination, anti-capitalism and the securing of equal rights and protections "by any means necessary" was criticized for promoting separatism among the races, and clashes between police and armed party members. The Black Panthers were the subject of intense surveillance by the FBI in the 1960s.
In 1969, at its height of influence, party membership was estimated at 10,000 internationally, although support steadily declined into the 1970s and early 1980s.
Huey Newton was shot and killed in 1989. He was 47 years old.