This Day in Black History: Feb. 17, 1942

Civil rights activist Huey P. Newton was born in Monroe, Louisiana on this day. Newton would go on to become a co-founder of the Black Panther Party, a paramilitary political organization that aimed to create social programs for Blacks stifled by racial discrimination. Newton would be a central figure of the Black power movement of the 1960s.

On Oct. 15, 1966, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was co-founded by Newton and Bobby Seale in Oakland, California. 

Later known as the Black Panther Party, the paramilitary-style political organization aimed to create social programs for African-Americans. The messages of Black self-determination, anti-capitalism and the securing of equal rights and protections “by any means necessary” was criticized for promoting separatism among the races, and clashes between police and armed party members. The Black Panthers were subject of intense surveillance by the FBI in the 1960s.

In 1969, at its height of influence, party membership was estimated at 10,000 internationally, although support steadily declined into the 1970s and early 1980s. 

Huey Newton was shot and killed in 1989. He was 47 years old.

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