Oakland street renamed after Black Panther Party co-founder Dr. Huey Newton

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- Ninth Street at the intersection of Mandela Parkway in Oakland has been renamed after the revolutionary founder of the Black Panther Party: Dr. Huey P. Newton Way.

On what would be his 79th birthday, a three-block stretch of 9th street in West Oakland now bears Huey P. Newton's name.

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Fredrika Newton, founder of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation and Newton's widow, was filled with joy.

"I'm overwhelmed. It's our first tangible result of so much effort and not the last," said Newton.

"Huey made Oakland a place for revolutionary organizations to come together," says Xavier Buck, Deputy Director of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation.

Doctor Newton is one of the co-founders of the Black Panther Party. He was shot and killed at this street corner in 1989.

A small crowd was on hand for the ceremony and the unveiling that followed, which included city and community leaders and some former party members.

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For decades the narrative surrounding the Black Panther Party, founded in Oakland in 1966, has centered around images of party members in black leather jackets carrying guns for protection.

But what about the Black Panther's breakfast program that became the blueprint for the federal government's school breakfast program?

Why were those positive images of the party's history largely non-existent until now?

They only like to show sinister videos or pictures of us carrying guns. That was not what the Black Panther Party is about," said Newton.

"We fed (children), we clothed them, we made sure they were healthy with free clinics. That's based on love and those were the positive things of the Black Panther Party the media never showed," she said.

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Newton, who spent part of his childhood in Oakland, went to college in the Bay Area, earning his Ph. D. from the UC Santa Cruz in 1980. He co-founded the Black Panther Party in response to incidents of police brutality and racism. He advocated for Black self-
reliance.

Under Newton's leadership, the party established numerous community support programs, medical clinics, food banks, and a newspaper.

"Decent housing, quality education, access to health care, all the things the current black lives matter movement and people out here in the bay area support, they were doing that back in the 60s," says Buck, who spoke at the event.

The street renaming honoring Newton comes less than a week after the release of the film "Judas and the Black Messiah" featuring the life, and killing by law enforcement, of Chairman Fred Hampton.

Hampton led the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party until he was killed by police in 1969.

Daniel Kaluuya of "Get Out" fame plays Hampton in the movie.

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He recently appeared on Good Morning America and discussed the push to rewrite the narrative of the party's legacy.

The movie "articulates what a lot of people are feeling in this country in the moment. And seeing the Black Panther Party and Chairman Fred Hampton had the ideas and philosophies and strategies in order to help the Black community," Kaluuya said to GMA's Robin
Roberts.

Chairman Fred Hampton Junior made the trip from Chicago for the renaming in a show of solidarity.

"Power to the people. Long live Minister Huey P. Newton. Freedom All," Hampton shouted to the crowd.

Glover: "The history of the Black Panther Party is Oakland history and for so long that's been denied. And now it can't be. What does that mean to you?"

Newton: "It means everything to me. Now children will grow up to see images that look like them to give them hope to know that they too can make a difference, they too can make a change in their community."

Two more events are scheduled in Oakland to honor Newton at the end of February.

On October 24, a bronze bust of Huey P. Newton will be unveiled on a granite slab at the intersection of Dr. Huey P. Newton Way and Mandela Parkway.

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