“The first lesson a revolutionary must learn is that he is a doomed man” -Huey P. Newton.
Those prophetic words spoken the late Huey P. Newton serve as a reminder of the fate is to be accepted when one decides to become a revolutionary intent on change through armed struggle. Successful revolutions throughout history were often violent with climactic endings that forever changed the history of the nation in which they were executed. Here in the United States, some would argue that the revolution for civil rights has never ended. The faces may have changed but the age-old problems remain. While the days of Fidel Castro and Chairman Mao have long passed, their efforts, successes and failures are case studies for the positive and negative effects of armed struggle. The 1960s proved to be a turning point in both American and world history as young men and women found an ideology they could relate to in the teachings of Marx, Lenin and Engels. The Black Panther Party emerged during this decade giving African-Americans and other minorities a source of pride and confidence against systemic discrimination. Created by Huey and Bobby Seale, the party later became a target of the FBI’s illegal COINTEL program which helped contribute to its self-destruction.
Revolutionary Suicide is Huey’s autobiographical masterpiece takes us deep inside his mind and conscience which was always on and moving in several different directions at once. Functionally illiterate by the time he graduated high school, he would eventually learn to read and write and became a voracious reader resulting in one of the sharpest analytical and political minds the civil rights movement ever produced. Earning a Ph.D from the University of California in Santa Cruz, he evolved into a gifted writer full of energy and raw emotion and his words and thoughts are conveyed in an engaging matter bound to keep the reader engaged. His life was anything but ordinary and he was charged and tried for murder more than once. Known to have a hair-trigger, he admits his past mistakes and his disdain for authoritative figures. It was a trend that would continue his entire life. Defiant and stoic, this is Huey in his own words. And if you like this you might also like David Hilliard’s Huey: Spirit of the Panther.