At the time, the Black Panthers were just a myth to me. I'd heard of them, but didn't know much about them, cause like every Black person in the american educational system, I'd been indoctrinated into worshipping the pansy-like stylings of Martin Luther King and Crispus Attucks. But after seeing the book's cover, something in me was moved to the point of picking it up. And once I held it in my hands, I stared at the infamous photo of Huey in the wicker chair with a spear in one hand and a rifle in the other for a good few minutes.
I couldn't wait to dive into the pages of this book, 'cause I knew with that kind of badass cover, there had to be some badass content inside.
Fast forward decades later...not only have I read the book twice, but I now know that Dr. Huey P. Newton received his Ph.D from the University of California, Santa Cruz. And ironically enough, the title of his published dissertation was: 'War against the Panthers: A study of repression in the united states'.
I've also seen the way that white elites have defiled the book's original cover. In this post header's triptych at the far right you can see the original cover for the book. The book's co-opted cover art on the top left was designed by some lackey named 'Ho Che Anderson'. This is suppose to be some clever take on the name 'Ho Chi Minh' who was the communist revolutionary prime minister and president of Vietnam from 1945 to 1969.
On this cover it shows a shotgun pointing at Dr. Newton's head. And if you opened the book and saw its full cover, you'd see it depicted someone who looks like a Black Panther pointing the shotgun at him.
This is basically saying that Huey and the rest of the Panthers killed themselves 'cause they had the nerve to take up arms and do battle with the corrupted gestapo-like policemen in their communities. And on a banner over Huey's shoulder are the words 'Try Police'. This is suppose to be a sign protesting police corruption. But it's really saying Black folks should 'try' police in courtrooms to get some sort of justice. It's suggesting Black folks should trust police and the american (in)justice system despite the fact that it's never worked for our community at all.
But I don't expect anything more from neo-liberal whites who are covertly bigoted themselves.
One day, I watched Spike Lee's film of the broadway play, 'A Huey P. Newton Story'. This was written and produced by Roger Guenveur Smith (Roger is displayed on the DVD cover to the right. And he was in the movies 'Deep Cover', 'All about the Benjamins' and 'American Gangster'). This play had a short run on Broadway and it chronicles the tempestuous nature of Huey's life in and outside of the Panthers. And not only did the play elucidate the pressures of Dr. Newton's life, but it also made me think about others who benefited from it unknowingly. That's a point I wanna' delve deeper into for a sec'.
John Edgar Hoover...J. Edgar to most people, was instrumental in founding the FBI in 1935 and remained there until his death in 1972. He died at the age of 77.
Frustrated by supreme court decisions that limited the justice departments capabilities to prosecute people for no good reason, he organized a covert 'dirty tricks' program called 'COINTELPRO'. Now, it was stated that this program was basically put in motion to stave off the 'communist threat' in this country; but what it wound up being was an organized terrorist campaign aimed squarely at Black revolutionaries. And the Black Panthers were directly in its cross-hairs.
J. Edgar wrote that he wanted to stop the rising of a 'Black messiah'; and this led to COINTELPRO's organized document forgings, phone taps, burglaries and murders.
Now, what made the Black Panthers so extraordinary, besides the fact that they had the guts to take up arms when Black christians were ordered to become non-violent pacifists, was they REFUSED to accept white people into their ranks. And being that this was hardly the case before in any other Black liberation movement, J.Edgar could not infiltrate them with his lily white agents.
And mind you, at the time, every FBI agent was white.
So begrudgingly, Hoover had to hire Black people to get someone on the inside of the Panther's ranks.
And after he did, it was said that whole chapters of the Panthers were comprised mostly of his Black agents.
Now, the grand irony here is that Dr. Newton's stance against white supremacy is what got these Black toms their jobs. Whether they knew it or not; and the lesson here is that it's the extremist revolutionary acts of Black people that ultimately bring about the most change for the rest of us. Pandering and assimilating to white mores usually winds up benefiting a select few of us, but overall, this does nothing in the way of really changing the lives of the Black diaspora. (Barack Obama)
It kinda' reminds me of the travails I had with a certain financial institution near where I once lived.
I don't know if you've heard of the 'Woodforest' banking franchise, but basically these 'stores' are glorified check cashing establishments fronting as banks. Albeit they are FDIC insured--how on earth they got that to happen is a miracle...then again, maybe not; 'cause I've heard the high ranking executives of this company are a bunch of white bigots, and you know how they stick together.
So one day I go to this 'bank' which was in my local Wal-mart, and I try to receive some money that had been wired to me from Western Union. I was told that the Western Union services were down, and I could only 'send' money, but I couldn't 'receive' any. When I asked why the service was working to send money but not receive it, I was told it was a problem on Western Union's end. So I called Western Union, and they said their services had been working fine all day. So I immediately knew that the white women over at Woodforest were lying. So, I had one of Western Union's reps. call Woodforest; and those bigoted bi&ches told the rep. that they were having problems with 'their' database. And later, I found out that was a lie.
You see, I knew what time it was; they were just a bunch of bigoted inbreds who didn't want to provide this service to Black people. Guess they thought we're all trying to run scams through Western Union.
After this, I needed to use Western Union's services again, and the only other outlet was across town, so I called Woodforest before going there, to see if their Western Union services were 'up'. And after five calls, no one picked up the phone. I had to go to Wal-mart anyhow, so I stopped by this 'bank' and asked if I could receive some money; guess what they told me...their services were out. When I told the pale-skinned piece of trailer trash I was talking to that I tried to call before coming to see if their services were working, she just said...I'm sorry about that. I told her, not as sorry as you're gonna' be.
Long story short, I called the corporate offices of this 'bank' and after about a week, I got a hold of the bank's regional manager. He assured me that the matter would be taken care of. And now, not only am I able to use their Western Union services, but I saw a drastic change in the look of their staff.
Mind you, the staff of this place was lily white; but a couple of days after contacting the bank's regional manager, I saw two Black women behind the counter. I was like...get the hell outta' here. Then I thought, I wonder if these sistas know that they got that job because I complained to the 'bank's' regional manager. Now I know what you're thinking...you're saying, you can't take credit for those black women's jobs. But trust me, I'd never seen black women on their staff previously, and I know for a fact that the managers of that bank never thought any Black person would have the temerity to do what I did. So they made changes to 'clean' up their image by hiring a couple of our people.
Now I'm not likening myself to Dr. Newton, but the bottom line is this, it's the radical changes that result in the most progress for our people. We need to stop being epic anglophiles and be bold enough to really challenge the white supremacist institutions that keep us oppressed in this country.
And because I did something radically different, that really shook those inbreds up...a couple of our people have jobs that they might not have otherwise.
So for battles well fought and a life well-lived, I say REST IN PEACE AND POWER TO THE NETCHER/NEGUS/GOD DR. HUEY P. NEWTON.
Every Black man is better off for having known you or known about you!