This Day in Black History: Aug. 22, 1989

Mostly known for his work as the co-founder of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, Huey P. Newton’s life ended in a tragic death when he was shot and killed in Oakland, California, on Aug. 22, 1989. 

The social activist was born in Monroe, Louisiana, on Feb. 17, 1942. When Newton co-founded the Black Panther Party with Bobby Seale, they called for an end to economic exploitation of African-Americans through its Ten-Point Program. The group was labeled militant for arming themselves publicly. The group shocked many when they entered the California Legislature fully armed in 1967 to protest a gun bill. 

Newton began to see his organization fall apart after conflicts with police in the 1970s. The leader also faced criminal charges for allegedly killing a police officer. Charges were later dismissed.

Before his death, Newton earned a Ph.D. in social philosophy from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1980. He was shot several times and killed at the age of 47 in the same city he began his work with the Black Panthers. 

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