Huey P. Newton was fatally shot in West Oakland by 24-year-old BGF (Black Guerilla Family) member and drug dealer Tyrone Robinson shortly after Newton left a crack house. Robinson was convicted of the murder in 1991 and sentenced to 32 years in prison for the crime.
Relations between Newton and factions within the BGF had been strained for nearly two decades. Former Black Panther members who became BGF members in prison had become disenchanted with Newton for his perceived abandonment of imprisoned Black Panther members and allegations of Newton’s fratricide within the party.
Robinson said that Newton pulled a gun when the two met at a street corner in the neighborhood, but the police found no evidence that Newton was armed. The murder occurred in a neighborhood where Newton, as minister of defense for the Black Panthers, once organized social programs that helped destitute African Americans, such as feeding poor, young children in the community before they headed off to school.
Newton’s last words, as he stood facing his killer, were, “You can kill my body, and you can take my life but you can never kill my soul. My soul will live forever!” He was then shot two times in the face by Robinson.
He was interred at Evergreen Cemetery in Oakland.
Huey Percy Newton was a political and urban activist who, along with Bobby Seale, co-founded the Black Panther Party in 1966. Newton had a long series of confrontations with law enforcement, including several convictions, even while he participated in political activism and pursued an education, eventually earning a Ph.D. in Social Science through The History of Consciousness program at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
His doctoral dissertation was entitled War Against the Panthers: A Study of Repression in America. Later, Newton’s widow, Frederika Newton, would discuss her husband’s often-ignored academic leanings on C-SPAN’s “American Perspectives” program on February 18, 2006.
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