Dr. Huey P. Newton : the educator
- While Huey P. Newton has his place in the history books as an outspoken activist and co-founder of the Black Panther Party (BPP), a critical aspect of his life's work is missing from his well-known story. In addition to being remembered for his confrontations with the police, Newton should be known as an educator because that is how he saw himself, that is what his actions proved him to be, and his time in front of a classroom epitomized what it means to be an activist-educator. Newton was a college lecturer as well as a founder and trustee of a primary school, the Intercommunal Youth Institute (later renamed the Oakland Community School). As an educator, Newton aimed to teach people how to identify and overcome oppression. With my first paper, I chronicle Newton's journey from a student-activist to a teacher-activist at Merritt College. Working from both autobiographical and archival sources, I explain Newton's motivation for attending college and the classes he took. Next, I describe his role in the student activism that led to the creation of a Black Studies department. Then, I detail the lecture series he designed and taught in the same department that his advocacy helped to create. I tell this story to illustrate how becoming a teacher-activist is a holistic experience influenced by lessons learned in a classroom and time spent boldly challenging injustice. Newton's time as a student at Merritt College influenced who he became as a teacher at that very same institution. The more Newton learned, the more he saw a link between learning and liberation, which compelled him to teach others to be free. My second paper is a content analysis of Newton's choices as a course designer for two classes he taught: 1) "Dialectical Materialism and Everyday Living: A Third World Approach" offered at Merritt College in 1972 for the Ethnic Studies Department, 2) "Intercommunalism" taught in the Education Department at the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1974. My content analysis began with the question of how connected were Newton's design choices as an instructor to his work as an activist and a theoretician? This inquiry led to a careful study of Newton's syllabi, the content he recorded on them, and his scholarship regarding the lectured topics listed. Through analysis of Newton's course materials and scholarship, I show that Newton's course design was consistent with Black Panther Party ideology because it centered on socialist philosophy and Black activism. His course design selections shortened the distance between theory and practice, the theory being socialist ideology and the practice being Black activism. With my third paper, I study the connection between Newton's pedagogical program centered on dialectical materialism, intercommunalism, and revolutionary suicide, and the curriculum of the Oakland Community School (OCS). An analysis of Newton's syllabi, his lecture transcripts, and his scholarship on the OCS in conversation with Oakland Community School staff handbooks and weekly memos make it clear that Newton's work as the chief theoretician of the Black Panther Party and his instructional design as a college lecturer served as the ideological foundation of the Oakland Community School's curriculum. A close reading of the OCS's math, science, history and meditation curricula show that Newton's embrace of socialist theories influenced the school's founding as well as its approach to teaching, learning and living. This study brings us one step closer to understanding who Dr. Huey P. Newton was, separating the man from the myth, and revealing that at his core, he was an educator. He dedicated his life to educating the community whether it be on the block, on a college campus or in an elementary school. .
|Type of resource
|electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
|1 online resource.
|Degree committee member
|Degree committee member
|Stanford University, Graduate School of Education
|Statement of responsibility
|Submitted to the Graduate School of Education.
|Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2023.
- © 2023 by Sandra Habtamu
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
Also listed in
Loading usage metrics...