I have completed an eye-opening and informative autobiography, Revolutionary Suicide by the founder of the Black Panther Party, Huey P. Newton.
A few months ago PBS premiered a documentary on the Black Panthers. This documentary would be my formal introduction to what the Black Panther Party was about. Before the documentary I was somewhat familiar with what the party stood for. I knew they wore all black and were a little bit on the more radical side. I had heard of the man Huey Newton but did not know fully about what he represented.
Time goes on and then news of Tupac Shakurs mother, Afeni Shakur had passed away. Afeni was one of the Panther 21, who was arrested and accused of coordinating a planned bombing and attack on two police stations.
During that time I had been seeing news anchors and tweets describing the Black Panther Party as terrorists. While soaking all of this in I said to myself, “I don’t know much about the Black Panther Party, I should find a book.”
I found Revolutionary Suicide by the founder of the BPP, Huey Newton.
This autobiography was candid. I felt like I was there and could feel the emotions that Newton felt. Along with his vision for the BPP Newton presented his views on certain topics like God, and marriage which I found to be similar to my own.
I am inspired by Huey Newton because he is a man that never lost his cool. This man sat in a cell for 33 months for a crime he did not commit but stayed solid and never showed an ounce of weakness. He was a great leader who made it his objective to educate the Black community. In the book Newton presented the 10 Point Program for the BPP. This program basically outlined what he and the party were after. Sadly, this 10 Point Program should be applied today.
After completing Revolutionary Suicide, I thought about what is happening in America today. I thought about whether or not another radical movement such as the BPP can make a difference today. In all honesty, I don’t think its possible.
We have too much at this point. Their hard work has helped us get to another level and possess things that were out reach back then. I also think that as much as some tweet and instagram about police brutality and the unfair treatment of minorities, not many are willing to die for the cause. Back then, individuals like Huey Newton, Bobby Seale, and George Jackson didn’t have much. They were willing to stand on the front line and sacrifice their life. They knew that they would possibly die in the act of fighting for Black liberation.
I’m the type of person to play devils advocate for my own actions. I loved how Newton concluded his book where he second guessed whether or not America was ready for the Black Panther Party. “Perhaps some of our tactics at the time were extreme. Perhaps our military strategy was too much of a great leap forward.” I loved seeing him take a step back and assess all that he and his comrades had done and find possible flaws in their technique. In the end he believed it was a necessary phase and I agree.
I thoroughly enjoyed Newtons autobiography and wish the copy I read wasn’t a library copy. But I will be making that purchase and will re-read this piece of work and the mark it up like a real one.