Black Panther Party founder Huey P Newton was born 80 years ago, on 17 February 2022. In his memoir, Revolutionary Suicide, he reflects on visiting socialist China in September 1971. Away from the system of institutionalized racism and white supremacy that he had endured all his life in the US, in China he “felt absolutely free for the first time in my life”.
What I experienced in China was the sensation of freedom – as if a great weight had been lifted from my soul and I was able to be myself, without defence or pretence or the need for explanation. I felt absolutely free for the first time in my life – completely free among my fellow human beings. This experience of freedom had a profound effect on me, because it confirmed my belief that an oppressed people can be liberated if their leaders persevere in raising their consciousness and in struggling relentlessly against the oppressor.Huey P Newton, Revolutionary Suicide (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition, p348)