February 24, 2005
Re " 'Gonzo' Journalist Thompson Kills Self," Feb. 21: Now that Hunter S. Thompson has committed suicide, one can truly say that the '60s have ended forever. Funny how most of the main radical players of those heady days have now been laid to rest, for one reason or another. Eldridge Cleaver, Huey Newton, Jerry Rubin, Abby Hoffman, etc., have all passed on. Thompson was, if nothing else, an entertaining fellow who could hardly be taken seriously even in his prime. The same could be said now for most of the "Movement" of the '60s, with this many years gone by. The vitality and hipness of that age seems to have dulled and is revisited more for the sake of curiosity than for any significant meaning.
June 26, 2003
Just days after I delivered a paper on the mass media's distortion of the Black Panther Party, I read Kate Coleman's effort to discredit a conference on the "Black Panther Party in Historical Perspective" at Wheelock College in Boston ("Just a Pack of Predators," Opinion, June 22). Coleman's piece is a transparent effort to sustain a media distortion that has been around for decades. Namely, that the Panthers were a "bunch of thugs." Coleman reduces the nationwide Black Panther Party to the actions of Huey Newton and members of his Oakland coterie who engaged in criminal and violent conduct well after the national Panthers went into decline.
February 13, 2002 |
It was nearly 13 years ago on an Oakland street that activist Huey Newton's turbulent life met with a violent end that shocked few, shot down by a 24-year-old drug dealer. Newton, who in 1966 co-founded the Black Panther Party with Bobby Seale, was only 47, but in truth had been in decline for several years, beaten down by ongoing legal skirmishes and an equally daunting array of vices. Tonight at 9 on KCET, however, the radical icon is resurrected with a vengeance in "A Huey P.
February 6, 1995 |
Perhaps it was inevitable that Black Panther founder Huey Newton would be put on stage ("Taking Huey Newton Off Posters and Onto the Stage," Calendar, Jan. 19). Society's social rebels often become the stuff of books, paintings, plays or films. The problem is that they are either demonized or idolized. This could easily happen with the Panthers. Their story is loaded with tragedy, heroism, idealism and stupidity.
January 27, 1995 |
As the title suggests, "A Huey P. Newton Story" at the Actors' Gang makes no claim to being the definitive portrait of the late Black Panthers co-founder. How could it? Newton's life was a turbulent swirl of contradictions--street fighter, poet, political tactician, cocaine addict, accused murderer and self-taught scholar. He was equally at home quoting Shakespeare or busting heads.
January 19, 1995 |
Old radicals don't die, they just get recycled as pop imagery. In the 1970s, the bearded and bereted Che Guevara graced a poster that was de rigueur for campus lefties' dorm rooms. More recently, the mark of Malcolm X turned up as the logo on a baseball cap. Now, with the Melvin and Mario Van Peebles film "Panther," at least two stage works and a number of books and articles on the Black Panthers due out this year, Huey P.