This Day in History – August 22, 1989

Co-founder of Black Panther Party is murdered


On this day in 1989, Huey P. Newton, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, was murdered.

Born in Monroe, Louisiana, Newton is best known for co-founding the left winged Black Panther Party. Many of the beliefs adopted by the Black Panther Party were based on the works of Malcolm X. The Party gained national and international popularity through their deep involvement in both the Black Power Movement, and the politics in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Party stood to improve housing, jobs, and education for the African American community through their Ten-Point Program. The Black Panther Party believed that violence, or the growing threat of it, might be what was needed to bring about social change.

Newton would frequently visit places such as pool halls, campuses, bars, and other locations deeply rooted in the black community where large numbers of people would gather, in order to recruit and organize for the Panthers.


During these times, he sought to educate those who gathered around him about the legality of self-defense; he claimed that the reason blacks were continually persecuted against was their lack of knowledge in the social institutions that could work in their favor. Newton worked with the Panthers to begin a number of social programs to help, educate, and propel the people in his community forward.

In 1982, Newton was accused of embezzling $600,000 of state aid to the Panther-founded Oakland Community School. These charges were dropped 6 years later in March of 1989; he was sentenced to six months in jail and 18 months probation. In 1989, Newton was fatally shot, and murdered, by Tyrone Robinson who was sentenced to 32 year to life in prison after being convicted of the charge.


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