Oakland Unveils Statue Honoring Black Panther Party’s Huey P. Newton

Huey P. Newton (Rusty Kennedy / Associated Press)
Rusty Kennedy / Associated Press

The City of Oakland unveiled a bust of Black Panther Party founder and leader Huey P. Newton on Sunday, honoring his legacy in the city that saw the founding of the radical party in 1966 with fellow radical Bobby Seale.

The Associated Press reported:

The unveiling took place Sunday at Dr. Huey P. Newton Way and Mandela Parkway, near the spot where Newton was murdered in 1989. It comes as Panther alumni, descendants and others gathered to mark the 55th anniversary of a party that has long been both celebrated and vilified.

Newton remains a divisive figure. Many people still dismiss him as the leader of a band of beret-wearing, gun-toting hustlers — and no doubt would deplore the prospect of an American city memorializing him with a statue. Others say his failings were a drag on the Black Power movement.

Still, many love him to this day, venerating him as a man who, with Bobby Seale, sought to unite all Black, impoverished and oppressed people against what they considered America’s racist, capitalistic and unjust interests. His influence on the Black Lives Matter movement is undeniable.

In a time when many cities are taking down monuments to figures from America’s past, it is notable whom Oakland is choosing to honor. The Newton bust is the city’s first public commemoration of the radical Black Panther Party.

Last year, a sculpture honoring Breonna Taylor, one of the iconic victims celebrated by the Black Lives Matter movement, was unveiled in Oakland. It was later vandalized, though it is not clear whether there was any political motive involved.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new novel, Joubert Park, tells the story of a Jewish family in South Africa at the dawn of the apartheid era. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, recounts the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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