Read these other inspiring facts about political activist and revolutionary Huey Percy Newton:
1. Born in Monroe, Louisiana as Huey Percy Newton.
2. Youngest of seven children of Armelia Johnson and Walter Newton, a sharecropper and Baptist lay preacher. His parents named him after former Governor of Louisiana Huey Long.
3. Migrated to Oakland, California, as part of the second wave of the Great Migration of African Americans out of the South to the Midwest and West.
4. Arrested several times for minor offenses, including gun possession and vandalism at age 14.
5. Growing up in Oakland, Newton stated that he was “made to feel ashamed of being black.”
6. Graduated from Oakland Technical High School in 1959 without being able to read, although he later taught himself; The Republic by Plato was the first book he read.
7. Attended Merritt College, where he earned an Associate of Arts degree in 1966. He then attended San Francisco Law School, and the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he earned a bachelor’s degree and, in 1980, a Ph.D.
8. Became involved in politics in the Bay Area. He joined the Afro-American Association (AAA), became a prominent member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.
9. During his time at Merritt College, he met Bobby Seale, and the two organized the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in October 1966.
10. Frequented pool halls, campuses, bars and other locations deep in the Black community where people gathered in order to organize and recruit for the Panthers. While recruiting, Newton sought to educate those around him about the legality of self-defense.
11. Started a number of social programs in Oakland, including founding the Oakland Community School, which provided high-level education to 150 children from impoverished urban neighborhoods. Other Panther programs included the Free Breakfast for Children Program and others that offered dances for teenagers and training in martial arts.
12. Accused of embezzling $600,000 of state aid to the Panther-founded Oakland Community School.
13. Received a bachelor’s degree from University of California, Santa Cruz in 1974. In 1978, while in prison, Newton met evolutionary biologist Robert Trivers after Newton applied to do a reading course with Trivers as part of a graduate degree in History of Consciousness at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
14. Earned a Ph.D. in social philosophy at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1980. His doctoral dissertation was entitled War Against the Panthers: A Study of Repression in America.
15. Tyrone Robinson gunned down Huey P. Newton on Aug. 22, 1989, in a pre-dawn slaying in West Oakland, California by Tyrone Robinson. Robinson was convicted of the murder in 1991 and sentenced to a prison term of 32 years to life.