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Rebel Without a Pause: Huey P. Newton

By Yvonna Russell
Huffington Post

Nelson_Body coverTwo years ago I remembered a documentary I saw produced by Antoine Fuqua called, Bastards of the Party about the Bloods and the Crips. The director, a former Blood gangmember, felt the gang-related turf wars grew out of the restless generation that came after the Black Panther Party, which patrolled to monitor police brutality and address the survival needs of the black community during the civil rights era. I thought it was fascinating and it got me to thinking about Huey P. Newton, co-founder and minister of self-defense of the Black Panther Party. I started reading everything on his life and work. Truly a labor of love one book on Eldridge Cleaver (author of Soul on Ice and minister of information, who later became a Republican) would lead me to a book on Geronimo Pratt and on to a book about his lawyer Johnnie Cochran and so on. I read Alondra Nelson's book, Body and Soul: The Black Panther Party and the Fight against Medical Discrimination for her extensive research on the party's healthcare activism. Tumbler is a great source for historical research. I found photographs by Stephen Shames, artwork by the Minister of Culture Cleveland Emory and the first copy of the Black Panther Party newspaper, "Who Killed Denzil Dowell"? Another great archive of the Black Panther Party is It's About Time by Billy (X) Jennings. YouTube has an awesome archive of news footage including my favorite of Huey and William F. Buckley on Firing Line. I've read FBI files and court transcripts of the famous murder trial of Officer John Frey that made Huey a cause celeb and into the international conscious. I researched The Glass House Tapes memoir of agent provocateur, Louis Tacklewood. Agents of Repression details the tactics of COINTELPRO, the FBI division established to destroy militant movements in the country. I read Huey's poetry and letters.

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