Huey P. Newton

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You can kill my body, but you can't kill my soul. My soul will live forever!

Huey Percy Newton (17 February 194222 August 1989) was co-founder and leader of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, an African-American radical organization that began in October 1966 in Oakland, California.


  • An unarmed people are slaves or are subject to slavery at any given moment.
    • "In Defense of Self-Defense" (20 June 1967)
  • To die for the racists is lighter than a feather, but to die for the people is heavier than any mountain and deeper than any sea.
    • To Die for the People (1972), paraphrasing Mao Zedong's "Serve the People"
  • I expected to die. At no time before the trial did I expect to escape with my life. Yet being executed in the gas chamber did not necessarily mean defeat. It could be one more step to bring the community to a higher level of consciousness.
    • Revolutionary Suicide (1973)
  • The FBI was most disturbed by the Panthers' survival programs providing community service. The popular free breakfast program, in which the party provided free hot breakfasts to children in Black communities throughout the United States, was, as already noted, a particular thorn in the side of J. Edgar Hoover. Finding little to criticize about the program objectively, the Bureau decided to destroy it.
    • War Against the Panthers: A Study of Repression in America (June 1980)
  • My foes have called me bum, hoodlum, criminal. Some have even called me nigger. I imagine now they'll at least have to call me Dr. Nigger.
    • Press conference (July 1980), quoted in Hugh Pearsons (1994) The Shadow of the Panther p. 288
  • When you deal with a man, deal with his most valuable possession, his life. There's play and there's the deep flow. I like to take things to the deep flow of play, because everything is a game, serious and nonserious at the same time. So play life like it's a game.
    • quoted in David Hilliard (2006) Huey: Spirit of the Panther, p. 46
  • You can kill my body, but you can't kill my soul. My soul will live forever!
    • Last words, quoted in Hugh Pearsons (1994) The Shadow of the Panther, p. 315
  • To us power is, first of all, the ability to define phenomena, and secondly the ability to make these phenomena act in a desired manner.
    • Black Capitalism Re-analyzed I: June 5, 1971 in The Huey P. Newton Reader By Huey P Newton p. 277

Quotes about Newton[edit]

  • Huey P. Newton is the baddest motherfucker ever to set foot inside of history. Huey has a very special meaning to black people, because for four hundred years black people have been wanting to do exactly what Huey Newton did, that is, to stand up in front of the most deadly tentacle of the white racist power structure, and to defy that deadly tentacle, and to tell that tentacle that he will not accept the aggression and the brutality, and that if he is moved against, he will retaliate in kind.
  • He admitted killing Officer John Frey. He said that before he killed Frey, the police and the power structure could just come down to the black community and do anything they wanted. But after he shot Frey, much of that changed.
    • Hugh Pearson (1994) The Shadow of the Panther p. 7, describing a statement to Willie Payne on the night of his death
  • I'm actually a rather shy individual. I wouldn't consider myself to be very charismatic; I never did anything hero-like, I just worked on some little community programs. I do have a role to play however — I'm a theorist of sorts — I work on theories. But I really do not enjoy discussing the details of my personal life except as it relates to the movement. I hate cameras, microphones stuck up in my face. To tell you the truth, I hate stages cause they put you up on a stage and expect for you to entertain them and I keep trying to tell them I'm not an entertainer. Came to New York and I was supposed to speak at the Apollo Theater — 125th Street. And somebody called me, said, "Huey, we gonna have to cancel the rally. Somebody's gonna assassinate you from the balcony." I said, "Listen, if I'm ever foolish enough to get up on stage at the Apollo Theatre, they wouldn't need to assassinate me. That man will just come out and hook me off the stage." What's his name? The sandman? Yeah, the sandman cometh.
    • Newton, as portrayed in A Huey P. Newton Story (2002) by Roger Guenveur Smith; to what extent this play creates a portrayal or quotes statements of Newton is not clear.
  • My father came out to California with another good friend of his who was also trying to support a large family. And this friend of his got a good job with the Oakland Public Works Department, something like that, but he quit that job cause he took a new job with the Oakland Police Department.… My father broke friendship with him, not because he joined the police force…; he broke his friendship with him because his friend was only allowed to arrest black people. So my father broke friendship with him on principle, cause that's the kind of man my father was, he was a man of high standing principle.
    • Newton, as portrayed in A Huey P. Newton Story (2002) Roger G. Smith

External links[edit]

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