The shadow of the panther : Huey Newton and the price of Black power in America / Hugh Pearson.

Pearson, Hugh [Browse]
Reading, Mass. : Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., ©1994.
422 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


Summary note
In the early morning of August 22, 1989, on the corner of Ninth and Center Streets in Oakland, Huey Newton faced Tyrone Robinson and two other drug dealers, asking them for crack. Robinson refused, took a 9-mm automatic from one of his companions and pointed it at Newton's head. Huey stood still and said, "You can kill my body, but you can't kill my soul. My soul will live forever!" Robinson shot him three times in the head. Huey Newton, once considered the nation's premier symbol of black resistance to the entire American power structure, was pronounced dead at 6:12 a.m. The Shadow of the Panther is the most ambitious, engaging, and balanced history of the Black Panthers to date. It is also an unflinchingly honest account of what amounts to human tragedy. Hugh Pearson's account of Huey Newton's rise to power and descent into addiction and powerlessness is set against a century-long quest for civil rights and empowerment. Beginning with the formation of the Brotherhood of Sleeping-Car Porters in the 1920s, Hugh Pearson then traces the development of civil-rights activism through a series of "Premier Negro Leaders" from Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. Du Bois, and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., to Martin Luther King, Jr., Stokely Carmichael, and Malcolm X. The extraordinary progress and crushing defeats of the early- and mid-1960s set the stage for the rise of the Black Power Movement and its offspring, the Black Panther Party. The details of this evolution from nonviolence to violence, and, finally, to militarism, are presented here with clarity and insight, showing clearly how Black Power spelled the beginning of the end of the Civil Rights Movement, and paved the way for the emergence of the Panthers as the nation's primary symbol of black disenchantment. Through meticulous research and exclusive cooperation from many of those close to Newton, Pearson paints a detailed portrait of life in the Party. Newton's own opposing tendencies - the intellectual who earned a Ph. D. and the street thug - had parallels in the structure and activities of the Party: while creating positive change through political organization and community programs, the Party also had all the characteristics of a violent, repressive, gangster mob. Persistent problems with internal conflicts, the wide gap between Newton's elite corps and rank-and-file members, sexual abuse and mistreatment of women, and the abandonment, torture, and frequent murder of members and ex-members all contributed to the ultimate demise of the Party. The result is a fine-grained portrait of the complex and evolving relationship of revolutionary blacks and white leftist college students in the face of growing black militancy and the Vietnam War, and a vivid and varied cast of characters that includes Stokely Carmichael, James Forman, Bob Scheer, Elaine Brown, and David Horowitz. A powerful and undeniably bold take on an era both pivotal and persistent in the American consciousness, The Shadow of the Panther will no doubt be the benchmark for all future books on Huey Newton and the Black Panther Party.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references (p. [349]-402) and index.
  • Murder in the early morning
  • Genesis
  • Feeling the southern earthquake from a distance
  • A large cat leaps out of Alabama
  • Managing the cat out of the bag
  • The cat slips its leash
  • The cat prowls
  • Life in the party
  • Reactions to the cat's violence
  • When the biggest cat leaps out of prison
  • Fellow travellers in the lair
  • Keepers of the lair
  • Cat in a corner
  • Death and its aftermath.
  • 0201632780
  • 9780201632781
  • 0201483416 ((pbk.))
  • 9780201483413 ((pbk.))
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