Why was Huey Newton (Black Panther) Significant? What im pact did he have on history?
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- AdamoLv 51 decade agoFavorite Answer
Huey Newton was one of the founding members of the Black Panther movement that radicalised the civil rights campaign in America. The FBI was to label Newton and his colleagues in the Black Panthers as ‘Public Enemy Number One’.
Newton, along with Seale, wrote the ’Black Panther Party Platform and Program’ which laid out what the Black Panthers wanted – full employment for the black American community, full civil rights, good housing, good educational facilities etc. It was how these desires were to be achieved that worried the authorities. The FBI infiltrated the movement and provided Hoover, the head of the FBI, with intelligence reports regarding the violent intentions of the Black Panthers. In October 1967, Newton was accused of murdering an Oakland police officer – John Frey. In the following year (September 1968) he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter and sentenced to two to fifteen years in prison. In May 1970, this sentence was overturned and a new trial for Newton was ordered. After two more trials, the case against Newton was dropped. There were legal technicalities to this such as the judge failing to provide the jury with proper instructions, but to those in the Black Panther movement the final acquittal seemed to justify their belief that the system was against them and that the accusation against Newton had been a fraud all along, with higher powers attempting to frame him so that the movement would falter without one of its leaders and lose any credibility it had within the black community.
After his release from prison, Newton changed the direction of the movement. While Newton was in prison, membership of the Black Panthers had declined and the FBI had done a great deal to tarnish its reputation. Newton targeted community issues within the black community that he felt needed addressing. The movement provided free breakfasts for children, provided free shoes and sponsored a school.
- Anonymous4 years ago
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