The Pacifica Radio/UC Berkeley
All Power to the People!
It's been a long time coming!
I look at the people in the room, particularly the people who were in the Black Panther Party, and I think that there is alot of power in this room. And yet, I think we all know, as we knew years ago, that us alone only amounted to, in some people's mind, as a bunch of crazy fools in a room. It's you, and it always has been you, who have made the real difference, and given the real definition in "All Power to the People." And, I just want to say that after the dust clears, and next week little kids say, "Huey who?", we should all remember that in someone's community--whatever you think of Huey, negative or positive--in someone's community, a human being was gunned down, and that should serve us all notice that there is alot of work to be done.
To the family, and to all of you, but especially to the family, my heart is yours. Power to the People.
Let there be peace among us, and let us not be instruments of our own oppression, and let us always claim power to the people.
In the brief moments that I have, with remarks I want to offer and share with the family and with you, on behalf of my love and relationship to Huey, I take guidance from Holy Scripture, where we find these word written in the eleventh chapter of Hebrews, verses 24-26: By Faith, Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharoh's daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, esteeming the reproach of Christ to greater riches than the treasures in Egypt Moses chose to identify with the people, and in so doing claimed his identity. He was not a sell-out to Pharoh, by letting Pharoh define who he was. Huey was our Moses. He did the same thing. He chose to identify with the needs of the people, and asserted and claimed his identity as a person, and as Servant of the People. Huey challenged and confronted modern day Pharohs to let my people go Modern day Pharohs of the racism, modern day Pharohs of the health care system, wherein the black and other babies of color have an infant mortality rate four times greater of that than white babies. Modern day Pharoah of a federal budget in which the poor are asked to bite the bullet, but the military is not asked to bite the MX missle or stealth bomber. The Modern Pharoah of a criminal justice system wherein a black youth can be shot to death for stealing a car and a man pardoned after stealing a country. [applause]
And just as Moses led the Hebrew children out of slavery in Egypt, so did Huey, our Moses, lead one of the greatest freedom marches in human history. Leading us out of the Egypt of our minds by co-founding the Black Panther Party, and enabling us to claim and affirm our identity as a people, and giving us pride and hope in ourselves. In identifying with the people and serving the people, Huey did not promise pie in the sky, by and by, when he knew that we needed something sound on the ground, while we were still around.
And thus was developed the Ten Point Survival Program which Ericka read, [Ericka Huggins, tape lost during original recording failure] which not only dealt with the daily survival needs of the people, but also dealt with those systems and institutions in our society which placed people in survival situtations. We heard the ten point program read. But we also heard the ten point program read when we heard the reading from Matthew…the 25th chapter of Matthew a few moments ago. That spoke about feeding the hungry, giving comfort to those in prison, of healing the sick. Because you see, Huey was able to join together The Amen Corner with The Street Corner. And in response to this, and in support of the Party, we had a black clergy organization-- interdenominational- called Alamo Black Clergy, which provided a lot of support, material and spiritual and psychological, to the various survival programs of the Party. And Huey was a courageous prophet and a brilliant visionary…this has already been tesified to…committed to establishing rightousness, justice, and truth in the world order, and in human society. And he brings us together today to rededicate ourselves to his vision, to his passion and to his purpose. And although the Pharaoh FBI and Oakland Police Dept. tried to give Huey a false identity, that of a gangster, you the People rose up, infused by the spirit of Huey, and with your faithful vigil, with the brilliant light of your candles, with the brilliant colors and fragrance of your flowers, and with your marching feet, you sent a loud and resounding "No!": he is our leader and our hero; he is our Moses.
Huey challenges us today to use that same energy, as Don mentioned a few minutes ago, and that same spirit--to be a spirit of renewal in our communities, in our men, in our women, in our young people, and to commit to continue our struggle for liberation. Huey challenges us also to affirm and support the struggles of those in other lands who have claimed their identities. (Now, I'm winding down now). In telling Pharaoh to let my people go…and this is particularly true, even as we speak and celebrate the life of Huey…that in South Africa, where we see Huey's truth being lived out, that the Man's technology…that the spirit of the People is always greater than the Man's technology of death and destruction.
And now our brother Huey has taken his last turn around the sun. He joins the company of prophets, of martyrs, of revolutionaries, and those in every generation who have found hope in God. And I pray that when we have taken our last turn around the sun, that we will be found faithful witnesses of the struggle and the spirit of Huey Percy Newton. And hear those blessed words of welcome from Jesus, which he has pronounced to Huey, Well done thou good and faithful servant of the people, enter thou unto the joy of the Lord [applause]
And in the New Testament, the third chapter of the Gospel of John, and verse 17, we have these words: "God sent not his son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved."
That day when Marc Anthony stood and gave an oration for his friend, Julius Caesar, he said: "Friends, Romans, countryman, lend me an ear. I've not come to praise Caesar, but to bury him. The good that men do…the evil that men do lives after them, and the good is often interred in their bones. And so is Caesar."
And at this particular point in history…and I stand with the eloquent voices that proceeded me, and none more golden in eloquence than Dr. Cecilia Arrington, and those who followed her in the train of orators, and saying that we've not come to bury Huey, but we've come to praise him…and simply because the good that people do if often interred in their bones. I don't know what it is that makes human nature forget that there is so much bad in the best of us, and so much good in the worst of us, until it scarcely behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us. "In any that men condemn as ill, I find so much goodness still. In men who men pronounce divine, I find so much sin and blot, until I dare not draw a line between the two where God has not."
And therefore I'm come to give a brief eulogy today--a very brief eulogy--because at 2:20 today I'm to be on an airplane, to speak at a banquet tonight in honor of one of the great black Christian educators of America, Dr. Foster Cracket, who for fifty years and used his mind to prepare people to be more humane. But in my brief eulogy, I want to say that in the newspapers we've not found much of that which is eulogy, we've found maldiction, and we've found that which is ugly. But I wonder and why it is that we have not heard the whole story. And why the balanced story of Mr. Newton's life was not told; and since it was not told, and I stand in a free pulpit, and since I am not intimidated by anyone but the Almighty God; and since black people pay my salary [applause]; and since we do not operate on government grants...but black men and women in this community, and who could appreciate Mr. Newton, because he was no handkerchief-head Uncle Tom [applause], I want to give a word of eulogy today. Eulogy, an English word is simply a marriage of two Greek words: EU in Greek means "good," and the logy --the LOGY--comes from the Greek noun "logos," which means "word." I want to say a good word.
The first thing that I want to say is this my brother always spoke of a father and mother who gave him strength and made him afraid neither of death, and therefore he was unafraid of life. And that ought to be said today. And I think that good words ought to be said about him. And how is it that Mr. Oliver North can lie, and America wants to make a hero out of him? How is it that a H.U.D. set aside to provide housing for people can give that money away in pay offs to people who call them consultants, like James Watts and others? And nobody takes them to task for it, but they want to look in the closets of my brother Huey Newton as if there're not skeletons in their own closet.
As I preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, they tell me he's the only one they were able to say "I find no with no fault in him." Mary's baby; the Lilly of the Valley; the Morning Star; the Lion of the tribe of Judah; the one that multiplied fish and loaves, turned water to wine. …Huey wanted to follow in his footsteps and give bread to the hungry. Those of us who are Black today ought to say thank God that he came to America in a time like this. I don't know how to make it plain, but he loved children, just like Jesus loved children. He loved children because he wanted children to have breakfast, didn't want them to go to school in the morning without breakfast. And I tell you, if I were not a justice-oriented white man I'd be ashamed. I'd be ashamed because in America today, the richest nation in the world, hunger is at an all time high. There [are] homeless here, but nobody has said anything to the man of teflon [i.e., President Reagan], but they honor him. I'd be ashamed today that they let him get away with all of the things he got away with but didn't recognize that the students in Huey's school had unwanted children in them, unwanted even by the public schools, unwanted even by their familes, and the teachers were there not only as teachers, but as parents, as counselors, as nurses. They were their friends, they ate breakfast, lunch, dinner with the children. And some of these children are--yes--making a contribution to American life, and to the life of all people. We ought to celebrate that this afternoon.
A good word about my brother. And I want you to know that nobody talked to him about him as an intellectual. In Search of Common Ground, Conversations with Eric H. Erickson. And you can't get through Stanford, you can't get through any good university without reading some Eric Erickson. And Huey had dialogue with Eric at Yale. And if he were not an intellectual, W.W. Norton Company would not have published it. And he could say with Socratese, "the unexamined life is not worth living." And he could work with Hegel's dialectical materialism, moving from thesis to antithesis to synthesis again, and then moving from there to still a higher form of evolutionary destiny. But you see, they don't like to point black men up as thinkers. We have to scratch our heads, pop our fingers, dance. It's alright for us to rap, but when we get to mapping out our own destiny, then we in trouble again. Revolutionary Suicide, Harcourt Brace Jovanovitch, Incorporated. A hardback book over some 320 pages. Here is a man who may not had the best of schooling in his infancy years; even as a teenager he could not read well, by his own testimony. But later in life he had earned his PhD degree from the University of California in Berkeley [actually it was University of California, Santa Cruz]. And he didn't buy that degree. We have a lot of people in town with bought degrees. He didn't back up and get that degree but his own integrity, discipline, and hard work gave him that degree.
Black men, black boys, black girls! Just remember that greatness is not predicated on how high you reach, but the depths from which you've come. When I look at him, it's not how high he's gone, but it's the depths from which he's come. And because he's been touched from above…see you didn't have anything to do with his greatness, but there's somebody bigger than you and I, who made the sun, who made the moon, who made the stars... Somebody bigger than you and I.
I must not preach too long. But if you'll just allow me to read from the Negritude Poets, an anthology of translations of blackt poets from the French. And I discovered that there is a French-speaking poet by the name of Massillon Coicou, who describes from African perspectives the contextual sitz im leben of Huey Newton. And he's writing a Lord's Prayer:
[reads poem] [from The Negritude Poets: An Anthology of Translations from the French / edited and with an introd. by Ellen Conroy Kennedy. Publisher: New York: Viking Press, ]
And yes, Huey was not an abstract, armchair, speculative philosopher. He felt that the word should become flesh. And he did not talk about a sweet by and by, but he addressed the nasty now and now. And that's why we still have an unfinished agenda, an agenda that reminds us that destructive forces are at work in the streets, threats and lies never leave its streets. But you and I must get up out of the rocking chair of complacency and work on the unfinished agenda. We cannot say like David, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove I'd fly away and be at rest," because that's kind of escapism. But we gotta get down in the trenches, roll up our sleeves, and then we have to remember that what the man was trying to tell us, that we can't wait for Republicans to help us, can't wait for Democrats to do it for us. I'm so glad we we've got Ron Dellums there, I'm so glad…but you and I have to roll up our sleeves and make this place a better place. You and I will have to close the gap. You and I will have to join our hands together.
You know, I'm so sorry that John George has gone on home. ...I wanted to get all the information I could get for the eulogy, so I found a way of getting UPI press reports, and I said give me… do a computer search on Huey P. Newton. The computer came back and said I got over 500 articles; I can't give you all of that information. So I had to do what I was doing when I was working on my doctorate. I had to delimit my search. And then it gave me selected information:
July 3, 1977, Sunday, Final Edition, The Washington Post. They quote John George: "I don't think I could have won without the Panthers' help. They are a strong force in Oakland."
Yes…in this same…yes, we don't have a …anybody from the Mayor's office? But the mayor is a good man. And, but what I want to tell you, that we do have his own campaign manager, Mr. Wasserman, saying in this computer search that he received very unusually strong help from the Panthers in getting the flatland [Oakland community] to know that they could make a difference. With the Panthers' involvement, Oakland was able to get the very first black mayor. You better not forget that!
I want us to know that we about to lose our gains if we knock one another off. If more of us run for the office then should have. You know what I'm talking about. One of the things that the black community must remember is that we may Muslim, some of us; some of us may be Baptist; some of us may be humanistic. But we all have a common destiny, because our skin is black. And whether you want to admit it or not you can rise no higher than the lowest of your brethren.
There's a PhD here…a PhD from Berkeley… Dr. George Cummings…where are you, George? Stand up, George! Teaches Black Studies. Teaches Black Theology. He said, "I wouldn't be teaching Black Theology were it not for Huey Netwon." If you call it "Black Theology," they say it's not legitimate. But there's Roman Catholic theology according to the Irish Catholics; there's Roman Catholic theology according to the Northern Europeans. And then there is American theology according to Jerry Falwell. But we need a liberation theology that says, "Go down Moses, tell old Pharoah to let my people go!" And don't you know, Pharoah is well in America today. I can't understand why every time they turn on the television set and show arrests about drugs, it's always poor black people that they're picing up. [applause] But we better wise up a little bit. We don't have any ships to bring it here. We don't have any airplanes to fly it in here. And if you can get a man on the moon, and if you can get Neptune in space, and if you got that sophisticated FBI equipment that harrassed the Black Panthers, why can't you figure out who's bringing dope in this community.
I'm going to close now… I'm going to close now…but when I was just…well, I've just got to tell you this: the Black Panther Headquarters down the street from us, you think it's closed? It's not closed! Truth! Yes, across the earth! It's going to rise up again! Yes, it will! The Panther sold Allen Temple that building where they put out… used to put out the Black Panther newspaper. And this Black Panther paper, called Co-evolution, Huey said, "sell it to them." Thank you, Huey! Yes! Sell it to them! They'll do the right thing. Sell it to them! They love the people. Sell it to them! Don't give it to the real estate folk. Sell it to them! Sell it to Allen Temple. Sold it to us at a mark-down price. Yes! We going to build a school there. [applause] Yes! He's going to live. Truth is going to live. Truth across the earth will rise again. We got 21 computers, teaching black children computer language. But when we get that building fixed up, we'll have 40 computers then.
When I first came, young people were saying "Free at Last! Free Huey! Free Huey! Free Huey!" How many of you used to say "Free Huey?" Say it like you used to say it.
[audience: "Free Huey!"]
Say it one more time!
[audience: "Free Huey!"]
Say it one more time!
[audience: "Free Huey!"]
Well, let me tell you, he's free!! He's free!!!
To my brothers and sister assembled here, and to my family--the Newton family--it is fitting that we be here today, for, indeed, a great warrior has fallen--a warrior of the People, who understood the People, and a warrior who, without reservation, gave himself to the People. They feared Huey P. Newton in life, they fear him even more in death.
They fear him because they know that the spirit, the will, and the determination of Huey P. Newton lives on, and will live on, as long as we are part of an indifferent, uncaring, racist society. They called Huey P. Newton a gangster, but we know who the gangsters are. It was the gangsters who enslaved a race of people. It was the gangsters who snatched babies from mothers arms, never to be seen again. It was the gangsters who practiced genocide on red people. It was the gangsters who attempted to annihilate yellow people. It was the gangsters who wanted to count ketchup as part of a nutritional breakfast for starving people. We know who the gangsters are!
And let me tell you something as I take my seat. Speaker after speaker has said, and they are true: "we ought to do something." And if all of you who have walked by and looked at Huey, if all of you who are here assembled--and don't fool yourself, the gangsters are here too--if all of you who are here will remember the name of the Alameda County District Attorney, and the next time it's time to vote, if all of you will vote No! No! No! will he be able to call Huey, or no other hero of the People a gangster?
Huey tried to tell us that we are not powerless. Huey tried to tell us that we are not pawns in some diabolical game that low-minded men play. Huey tried to tell us that the people do have power. The question is, will you stand on your feet and exercise your power?
I leave you with this. I leave you with this. The oppressed people of the world have a Hall of Fame. In that Hall of Fame there hangs a portrait of DuBois. In that Hall of Fame there stands a portrait of Denmark Vesey. In that Hall of Fame there's a portait of Nat Turner. In that Hall of Fame there is also a portrait with stars all around it of Huey P. Newton. Yes! Yes! Yes! I go to my seat, but I tell you as I go to my seat: Huey is not dead! Huey still walks the streets of East Oakland. Huey still walks the streets of West Oakland. Huey still walks the streets of North Oakland, and as long as there is a struggle for freedom and dignity, Huey will live and walk among the People!
[puts on Black Panther black tam and raises his fist in a Black Power salute]
All Power to the People!
[audience: "All Power to the People!']
And as we used to say, "Right On!"
[audience" "Right On!]
Number One. We want Freedom. We want power to determine our destiny in our own Black communities. That was number one that we wrote, Huey P. Newton and I, in October of 1966 in a War on Poverty office at 55th and Market Street. We had the keys to the place, and we down there, and was using the government's paper and stuff, and we sit down and we wrote "Number One: We want power to determine our destiny in our own Black community." We were coming from the whole context of the whole Sixties movement.
We were coming from the whole context of having digested and studied that African American and Black people's history, from Africa all the way up through to where we were. We were coming from and dealing with the whole concept of Power. Brother Stokely Carmichael and many others hit the scene and we started hollering: "Black Power! Black Beautiful Love, and Black Power" And Huey says, "I think we need to develop some kind of functional definition of "Power." And me and Huey got together--and this is before the Black Panther Party was started--but we got together and we moved around to various black student associations and black student groups from University of California, San Francisco State. We were already at Merritt College [Oakland]. And we had various kinds of discussions with various friends and brothers and sisters in the the black community, including Brother Ron Dellums, there at that time, before he ever ran for political office.
And when we got to moving and to beginning to understand, and analyze, and question, and as Huey Newton liked to say, investigate. "He or she who assumes without investigation, nine times out of ten is dead wrong. You got to investigate." And Huey P. Newton came up, he says, " Bobby I think I got it--a functional definition of power. Huey says, "Power is the ability to define phenomena, then in turn make it act in a desired manner." Power is the ability to define phenomena, then in turn make it act in a desired manner. I said, "Right, Huey. I see what you're talking about." Be that phenomena found in nature or be that phenomena found in the political, economic and social and human relationships between people and racial groups, or what have you. But power is the ability to define phenomena and make it act in a desired manner. We understood the phenomena, because we took time to dig into our African history. We took time to understand what it meant to be a proud human being. We understood the phenomenon of racism. We understood it in a clearcut, practicing, ongoing, sense. That's the way we understood it.
We went out and we got 5,000 signatures to give to the North Oakland Service Center Board, that we worked for--most people don't know we worked for the North Oakland Service Center Board at that time for the Department of Human Resources, city government of Oakland. But we went out and got those 5,000 signatures. [applause] We and got those 5,000 signatures calling for a Police Community Review Board--still before the Black Panther Party had even started. We got them 5,000 signatures, and gave them to them, and they tried to get on the city council to get them to set up a Police Community Review Board,. But the phenomenon of the racist mentality that made up the City Council of Oakland, California reject it. We defined the phenomenon as racist. We defined the phenomenon as a rascist city council that runs a police agencies and other government agencies that do not serve the basic desires and needs of the people in the black community. Power is the ability to define phenomena and make it act in a desired manner. That's Huey's functional definition of power, and it stands today, it is part of what we go into the future with.
Number Two: we wanted full employment for our people.
Number Three: We wanted decent housing fit for shelter of human beings
Number Four: We wanted decent education that tells us about our true history and the racist nature of this society
Number Five: We wanted an end to the corrupt capitalist robbery of our black community.
Number Six: We wanted all black men and women to be exempt from military service.
Number Seven: We wanted an immediate end to police brutality and murder of black people.
Number Eight: We wanted all black brothers and sisters when brought to trial to be tried by jury of peers.
And Number Nine: we wanted all black brothers and sisters who had already been tried by an all white jury to have the right to another trial, because they had not had a fair trial.
And when we finished writing that night, October 1966, we got to Number 10, we said, "well let's try to sum this up: We said we wanted land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace." We wrote it down. I said, "Huey, we need something else." He said, "I think we need something else too. We've got to sum up the meaning of this." I mean this was the founding documentation that Huey and I put together, but we had to figure it out. We had a legal service up there at that North Oakland Neighborhood Services where we worked there. And Huey was always into books, always researching certain laws and stuff like this here. And I was reading something one day, I says, "Huey, come here!" I said, "looky here; look at this document." He says, "Oh, yeah!" He'd read this document before. And we read and read and read. "…say this document is the thing that should sum up our ten point platform and program here. Right! That's what we should do." I said, "Right!" I said, "man this … if you think about what this document is saying here--it ain't talking about racial separation." I said, "ain't talking about all that stuff…" I said, "it's talking about human needs to change things." And that document goes like this-- the way we summed up that Ten Point Platform and Program:
"When in the course of Human Events it becomes necessary for one people to separate themselves from the political bondage which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth the separate and equal station which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind dictate that they should declare the causes which impel them to that separation."
Hold on! There was a second paragraph there! There was a second paragraph there!"
And beyond the words…and deed, etcetera, there was one specific line--a sentence or two--that Huey and I was extremely interested in, that truly attracted us as why we used that document. And Huey said, "this is the point here," and it went like this:
"When a long train of abuses and usurpations pursues and invariably evinces a design to reduce a people under absolute despotism, then it is the right of the People to alter or change that government and to provide New Guards for their future security and happiness."
Declaration of Independence, United States of America!
Huey and I went out there. I followed Huey, I loved Huey. I understood his insights. I mean, Huey would stand and say, articulate dialectical materialism…I could understand to communicate what was happening. You know, I was a stage person, I'd been a jazz drummer, I'd been a standup comedian, I'd worked at Kaiser aerospace and electronics on the Gemini missle project. But here was J. Edgar Hoover and Ronald Reagan, then, trying to call me and Huey a bunch of hoodlums and thugs. Said nothing about the fact that Huey had already graduated from Merritt College. Said nothing about the fact that Huey had put another year in law school. Said nothing about the fact that all the community work and community service Huey had already done before we created the Black Panther Party. Said nothing about that the fact that I'd been a stand-up comedian and a jazz drummer. Said nothing about the fact that my father had raised me to be a carpenter and a builder [and] was an architect by the time I was 18. Said nothing about the fact that Huey's mother and my mother taught us to share and share alike and to do unto others as you would have others do unto you. They said nothing about that! But we gonna a move on up; we gonna get on to the future. Because Huey used to say, in dialectics, everything is a forward movement, and is about the future. It is about our youth.
In fact, I work at Temple University, I live in Philadelphia…but I'm saying, even in this context... The last time I saw brother Huey, five and a half or so years ago, right here...in Oakland, California, we spent a day together, meeting a lot of brothers and sisters, shaking hands, running around to different communities, because it was good for people to see us, and rap and talk together. I talked to him a bit. I mentioned the fact that we needed to create a Black Panther Party, a Black Panter archive or community education institute of some kind. And he say, "Yeah." He says "Bobby," he says "you are one of the best organizers I ever was associated with." And I says, "I'm gonna do that some day." And I've been working hard to do that, and doing different kinds of things to raise funds, but my point is the African American Panthers Archival Institute, Community Education Archival Institute, I'm going to attempt to initiate the first framework in Philidelphia. Talk to brother Bobby Rush to initiate another framework in Chicago, and all the brothers and sisters here, David [David Hilliard] here and the rest of the Black Panther Party members, I want you to pull together, and we going to work together, and across this nation…and we want to all set up the framework of the African American Panthers Archival Institute, Community Education Archival Institute, right here in Oakland, California.
Hold on! Hold on!
Because you brothers and sisters, those breakfast programs, those preventative medical health care clinics, those sickle cell anemia testing programs...do you realize, did anyone ever tell you all, that the Black Panther Party…the Black Panther Party, all the way from Boston back, we tested over 1 1/2 million black people for for sickle cell anemia in the United States of America, and that was more testing then all government agencies, hospitals and clinics put together throughout the United States!
I mean, looky here: the spirit of Huey P. Newton, you know, the spirit of Huey P. Newton was greater than the Man's technology. And what he meant by that: You, the People, the People's spirit, the spirit of the People, is always greater than the Man's technology. Power to the People, brothers and sisters, I love you.
I know you are wondering why I am standing over here. This is Dr. Smith's pulpit. First of all, let me say that I am thankful for the church. [applause] I am thankful for the church in the black communities and the poor communities of America. I am thankful for Allen Temple Baptist Church.
About a year ago, a year and a half ago, Huey called me up and said I want to talk to you about something, brother. And I said, "OK." So he came over; "we set the time and he came over. And I said to myself, "what does Huey want now?" Here he comes. And when he walked in, we embraced each other. And he sat down, and he said, "I want to know, can you make me a minister?" I said, "I'm a united Methodist, how can I…?" He said, "No, No, No! Can you put your hands on me? Anoint me, so I can go on and start preaching?" I said, "No, man, my bishop, my boss...I don't have that kind of authority. I don't have that kind of authority!" He said, "Well, I want to be a preacher, a minister!" So we talked for a long time. He also checked around with other ministers. I don't know what happened. But Huey...I came here to say to you, that we are here to anoint you today as our minister, you see... A preacher!
Now, if you don't understand what a preacher is, listen to this:
In the year that king Josiah died, I saw the Lord, and he was sitting on a lofty throne, and the temple was filled with his glory. Hovering about him were mighty, six-winged angels of fire. With two of their wings, they covered their face, with two others they covered their feet, and with two others, they flew in a great, almighty expression, dramatization. The whole earth is full with His Glory. Such singing as you've never heard before. Such clapping as you've never heard before. (I'm using a little of my stuff now) Such shouting as you've never heard before. And all of a sudden, he said, "Then I said--when the room...the temple was filled with smoke--then I said, "My doom is sealed, for I am a foul-mouthed sinner, a member of a sinful, foul-mouthed race, and I have looked upon the King, the Lord of Heaven's armies. Then one of the mighty angels flew over to the alter, and with a pair of tongs, picked out a burning coal. And he touched my lips, and said, "Now you are pronounced NOT GUILTY! Because this coal has touched your lips, your sins are forgiven." And then I heard the Lord saying, "When shall I send as a messenger to my people? Who will go? And I said, "Lord..." Wait a minute... I said, "Lord...Lord, I'll go! Send me!"
And I can hear Huey Newton today saying, "Lord! Here am I! Send me to the people! Let me be your messenger." And the scripture goes on to say: Yeah, but they won't hear you, and they'll turn their backs upon you. And he said, "Let me go on anyway! I want to be your messenger. I want to tell a story. I want to tell the story of my people. I want to make sure that the ground is sound, and I want to make sure that the eyes are open. I want to make sure that ears are open. I want to make sure that minds which are closed will be open. I want to make sure about life being lived in a new way, where the oppressed are not oppressed anymore. I want to live and help other people live." And they said, "OK. Go on. Go on." And Huey went on.
Now, here is the...here's the critical thing: What is a messenger? Is it...let me...see when your lips and tongue have been touched with hot tongs, with a hot, burning cinder, you wonder, what's going on here. Well, let me tell you something... Why do you think Ron Dellums can speak the way he speaks? Why do you think that Elaine Brown can speak and sing the way she speaks and sings? Why do you think that Melvin Newton can talk his talk and speak the way he speaks? Why do you think that Frank Pinkard and Father Earl , and Dr. Smith, and his son, here... Why do you think that black folks can speak the way they speak? It is because we have had the fire touch our tongues and our lips, and we are on fire from the inside. And why do you get on fire from the inside? It's because we have come to understand that conditions get hard and worse sometimes. That we lost in many ways, but we knew we had to win, we had to gain. So we kept on in the midnight hours, when mothers and grandmothers would call to the children and say, "We got to get away, but we'll be back one of these days!" It's that kind of thrust that helps us to be on fire from the inside. And you want to know what a messenger is? A messenger is one who speaks with fire. Ron [Dellums] just said to me, "When the brothers and sisters get to talking, they really show how angry they are." That's part of it. When you get up, you can't stand up and be chilled out, and cool, and calm. Let me tell you something: what you got to come to understand, is that when you've been through trials and tribulations, and when you've been pushed aside and humiliated, and dogged, and talked about, you can't sit there and be cool, and walk around and say everything's alright. You've got to stand up, shout sometime. You've to sing sometime, and let the temple, the church be full of His Glory...full of His Glory.
Now, let me go to the New Testament here real quick...because if you don't understand this, you don't understand what Huey was about. Fourth chapter...listen to this...fourth chapter, beginning at about the 18th or 19th verse...listen to this: "The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach Good News to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, and to announce the captives shall be released, and the blind shall see, and the downtrodden shall be freed from their oppression. And that God is ready to give blessing to all that will come to him. The spirit of the Lord moves in mysterious places and affects all kinds of messengers, but I can tell you this, that for those of us who know the Church, and those of us who know the community, and those of us who respond to people, we know that the spirit of the Lord has come [recording skip]...never thought that we'd be uplifted. The spirit of the Lord has moved us out, so we can make sure that in the walking with Huey, and the understanding of Huey, that we begin to feed people, that we begin to make sure that health care is there, and that we visit people in the jail, in fact, Huey did a lot of visiting in the jail, didn't he? The important thing is, we gotta know that there are people out there who are blind and lame, and people who can't hear, and people who are dysfunctional, but what we got to do is move out with the spirit. We got to let the spirit contain us and move us and take us on.
Now, finally, the captors (?). What do we need relieving from? What do we...first of all, we need relieving from oppression. We need relieving from that which holds us back. We need relieving from that which keeps us down. We need our minds and our hearts and our spirits changed. We need it at this time as a black people and a poor people, to go on and not ever give up. We got to let the spirit be that which moves us from our captivity by which we are caught. And finally, let me say this: if the spirit of the Lord is upon me, the spirit of the Lord was upon Huey Newton, because it was the spirit of the Lord who made him a preacher. Now, he may not know it...now, you know, he didn't have...he didn't have...he didn't have a credential degrees of being a minister. He didn't need those degrees. He had his degrees. When he went to jail, he got a degree. When fed the People, he got a degree. When he stood with those who were about to give up, and knew that they were suffering severely in the projects, he got a degree. When he marched (alone?) with the Panthers up to Sacramento, you got a degree. I'm telling you, the degrees were his.
So, you have been anointed a long time ago, Huey. And what I want to do is let you know that we'd like to make sure that the word goes with you, and we want to make sure there's a bible that goes with you, because you embraced the word, and the word embraced you. You are the messenger(s). Now, one thing, folks, don't just sit...come in here today and be stirred up and go on about your business tomorrow. We can't do that to Huey. We can't do that to the spirit of those who've gone on before us. Somebody said to me a few minutes ago, outside said, "You mean to tell me that all the leaders are gone?" Don't you know that everybody is a leader in the black community? [applause] They don't understand that. And let me say this, that you can't sit back on your laurels, and just look up and say, "Send it to me, Lord." You got to get out there in the vinyard and you got to plow deep. You got to plant the seed. You got to touch the babies. You got to make sure that those are addicted and mothers who are suffering addiction in the black community, that they don't create genocide with crack cocaine in the black community. That we give life at this time, rather than death.
It's time for us, my brothers and sisters, to know that the spirit is moving us, the messengers are here. You are the messengers. I'm telling you now, it's time for us to stand up. What time is it? It's time to stand up. What TIME is it? [audience: Time to stand up!] Time to stand up! What TIME is it? [audience: Time to stand up!] Time to stand up! Huey P. Newton got the clock and turned the time at a fast rate, and said to America: You got to stop racism and sexism, and you got to stop classism. And what we are trying to do is make sure that that clock doesn't get turned back by society. It's time for us to turn the clock. ...[recording skip] What do you do with your time? You stand up! What do you do with your time? You stand up! Are you a messenger? Yes, I'm a messenger! Is the spirit on you today? Yes!, the spirit's on me! If the spirit's on you, then you'll do something about it. Amen!
This moment is not something that I have sought, but this is a moment that people have asked me to embrace. The last three weeks have been very painful and terrible time in my life. This is the seventh funeral in three weeks. Sandrai (?) Swanson's brother died saving some other human being; the brother I never had died in Ethiopia-- Micky Leland and my staff died in Ethiopia, and other people died in Ethiopia. Huey Newton died on the streets of Oakland. I just briefly want to say that remember in 1966, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale and others tried to remind America of its violence: the violence of war, the violence of police brutality, the violence of poverty, racism, sexism, chauvenism, and all forms of oppression. And it's ironic, tragically ironic, that the very same streets that Huey tried to make safe for the children, are the streets that took his life. But all over this country there are mothers dying and...mothers crying and children dying.
My final comment to you is the tribute to Huey ought to be this: as it is a tribute to Mickey Leland ought to be this. The tribute to John George, and Bobby Seale and and others ought to be this. We ought to go to Washington by the tens of thousands, the way the Chinese students went to Bejing. I sat here listening very carefully to everybody. But I've been in Washington eighteen and a half years, and this is the most propitious moment to stand up, not to take a march to Washington for one day.. but [recording skip] to go to Washington for the long haul. Bush said to the Chinese government, I am sorry that you didn't negotiate with the Chinese students. Why don't hundreds of thousands of you go to Washington, D.C. and say, "Negotiate with me to end poverty, drug addiction, pain, human misery, war, death and destruction?"
As I said before, it's not fun going to work every day now. We're talking about honorariums and ethics bills and Jim Wright, and what have you. But it would be an honor to go to work, stepping over several hundred thousand of you coming to Washington D.C. to right the wrongs, to challenge the evil, and to make this old world a better place for our children and our children's children. That would be a testimony to Huey P. Newton.
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