Dr. Huey P. Newton: Husband, Soulmate & Father
The African American Museum & Library at Oakland (AAMLO) announces a public conversation on Saturday, August 17 ahead of the thirtieth anniversary of the death of the slain political icon, Dr. Huey P. Newton (February 17, 1942-August 22, 1989). The program—created collaboratively with the performative think tank, MATATU—will take place at AAMLO, 659 14th Street in downtown Oakland.
Together with Bobby Seale, Huey Newton co-founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in 1966 while a student at Merritt College in Oakland, California. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California-Santa Cruz in 1974 and a Ph.D. in social philosophy in 1980. In August 1989 he was shot to death in West Oakland, in the very neighborhood where he began his outreach work with the Black Panther Party.
Fredrika Newton, widow of the late activist and president of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation and Zoe Samudzi, writer and MATATU archivist, will lead the public conversation. While many reflect on Dr. Newton’s many contributions and political legacy as public figure, they will bring focus to the little-discussed dimensions of his private life as husband, partner, and father. Fredrika Newton was introduced to the young political icon in 1970 by her mother, Arlene Slaughter, a housing activist and real estate agent for the Black Panther Party. Soon after their meeting, Newton elected to join the Black Panther Party where she served as a teacher in the Samuel Napier Youth Institute, helped establish the George Jackson Free Medical Clinic, and briefly worked on the Black Panther Party Newspaper. She and Huey were married several years later and lived together until he was killed in 1989.
With David Hilliard, Fredrika Newton cofounded the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation. As the president of the Foundation she works to preserve and promulgate the history, ideals, and legacy of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton through development and distribution of educational materials, the establishment of educational conferences and forums, and the maintenance and exhibition of historical archives. Newton is currently working with the Oakland Mayor’s Office towards a prominently placed historical monument, a series of plaques located throughout the city, and a touring (and permanent) museum to commemorate the Black Panther Party’s historical legacy.
Zoé Samudzi is a writer, photographer, and sociologist. A believer in the archive as a living organism, her doctoral thesis seeks to challenge genocide exceptionalism and understand imperial Germany's "race war" against indigenous Namibians (1904-1908) as foundational to the subsequent Nazi race war in Europe (1937-1945). Samudzi's work has appeared in the The New Inquiry, Verso, ROAR Magazine, Daily Beast, Broadly, and other publications. She has a column about photography and visuality in Wolfman Books' New Life Quarterly, and was the editor of The Black Aesthetic Season II. In 2018, She was artist-in-residence at the Ashara Ekundayo Gallery in Oakland, California and curated a group show, "Elemental," at the culmination of her residency.
She was a member of the 2017/18 Public Imagination cohort of the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) Fellows Program. Along with William C. Anderson, she is the co-author of As Black as Resistance: Finding the Conditions for Our Liberation (AK Press, 2018). Broadly, her work seeks to merge political theory, visual studies and photography, and critical approaches to science in service of a blended multidisciplinary means of articulating Blackness(es). Samudzi is a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of California-San Francisco and works as archivist for MATATU.