Talk:Huey P. Newton

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Outstanding issues[edit]

I think Apostle12 has raised a couple of interesting issues, ones that I would very much enjoy seeing clarification of here:

  1. do the WP:BLP policies still apply to Newton and/or Schneider, and if so, when does their coverage end?
  2. is a section on "support, moral and financial, that Newton received from various Hollywood luminaries" appropriate in this article?

In the former case, I imagine asking at WP:BLPN would be a good place to start. In the latter, I suspect an RfC is in order.

It would be wonderful if Apostle12 could notify the other editors here of the progress of these inquiries. I do understand, though, that time can sometimes be an issue, and I would be happy to pursue them myself if that is the case. -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 19:39, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

You can ask at the BLP, noticeboard, but I have clarified the issue above. The recently dead are covered through the time period of this subjects death. You can confirm this by reading the BLP policies. It touches on this in the lead and has a section. While most recently dead content may not be covered by the policy it does state that cotentious content that could have effect on remaining family etc should be excluded and treated the same as a living person. I made this that I felt this article fell within these perameters on the DR/N.
Generally it is not encyclopedic to have entire, segregated sections on non, nuetral content. Criticism and praise should be spread throughout the article and not sectioned off with undue weight.--Amadscientist (talk) 04:48, 12 February 2013 (UTC)
The section dealing with the moral and financial support the Black Panthers, and Newton in particular, received from various Hollywood luminaries should be completely neutral--neither criticism nor praise are part of the story. Apostle12 (talk) 20:30, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

John Frey admission[edit]

So in checking the Pearson reference, it seems a lot like hearsay. Pearson makes this assertion that Newton admitted to killing Frey based on interviews (with Robert Trivors and Willie Payne). The circumstances of both the alleged admission and the mindsets of the interviewees at the time (Pearson paints the scene as a night of drinking) do not give me a lot of faith in this alleged admission, i.e. that people said what they meant, and that it was interpreted in the way they meant it. Are there other reliable sources that make this same baldfaced statement about Newton's culpability, and which do not rely on Pearson for it? -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 17:49, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

This material has been in the article for years, and I believe you may have been the editor who recently enlarged it to improve context, specifically the part where Newton referred to Frey's murder having benefitted residents of Oakland's rougher neighborhoods by making the police more wary of abuse. Raising the question is fine, however I do not understand why you have deleted such longstanding material without allowing time for discussion. Pearson's interviews and sourcing were subject to intense scrutiny when Shadow... was published in 1994, and they withstood every challenge. Since he passed away in 2006, with notes and interviews perhaps more difficult to access, it seems a bit late to question his credibility on this issue. Apostle12 (talk) 18:31, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
I did enlarge it a few months ago to improve context. At the time, I was not as familiar with the WP:BLP policies, and did not have a copy of Shadow to check; I expanded the quote based on the Google Books sample pages. I don't think it matters how long the allegation has been there, either. For example, a number of hoaxes have persisted for years on WP, and their longevity is not a reason for maintaining them.
If the claim has been made by other reliable sources, as you seem to suggest, then it should be easy to find them to corroborate Pearson's statements. I think the article would benefit substantially from the inclusion of such sources, but if it is only Pearson making the claim, based on the possibly intoxicated recollections of interviewees, then I feel more hesitant, and would be inclined to ask at WP:BLPN or WP:RSN. Because of the centrality of Pearson's account to Panther scholarship, I expect it may be re-included regardless, but I think it important to get the tone and attribution right. My previous attempt at doing so seems inadequate in retrospect. -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 18:43, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Yes, tone and attribution are important. Now that you have Shadow... I hope you will read it in its entirety, as Newton's separate admissions to Robert Trivors and Willie Payne only become clear in the full context of Pearson's research. Pearson is the one who did this research, and all other sources are, to the best of my knowledge, derivative; I did not suggest that independent claims have been made by other reliable sources.
Are you asserting that WP:BLP applies to Newton, whose death occurred nearly twenty-five years ago? To exclude the fruits of Pearson's research and scholarship, especially on the basis of WP:BLP seems entirely unreasonable. To imply that this longstanding information, based on interviews with Trivers and Payne, might somehow be a "hoax" seems even more baseless. Pearson's work is indeed central to Panther scholarship; since the article includes Newton's obviously self-serving account of what happened the night Officer Frey was killed, excluding contrary information takes the article very far from neutral territory. For this reason, I believe Pearson's information should immediately be reinstated. Apostle12 (talk) 20:19, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Based on Amadscientist's previous statements re:Schneider, I think that yes, the page on Newton is subject to WP:BLP policies. For the record, my main concern is how deeply editors are expected to read into the literature and assess the quality of sourcing. The balance, in my view, is between clarity of the narrative and length, versus making clear exactly what grounds a statement by a source was based on. If it's that important to you that it be "immediately" reinstated I would suggest that you take your concerns to WP:BLPN and WP:RSN in order to clarify things, where I would be both happy to comment and quite interested in the outcome. I might also suggest WP:DRN (full disclosure: I am volunteering there in a dispute on an unrelated topic, and would obviously not comment in that capacity on this dispute.) In the meantime, I intend to be rather conservative on the inclusion of these statements, because per WP:BLP, "The burden of evidence for any edit on Wikipedia rests with the person who adds or restores material." -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 20:38, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
All pages are subject to WP:BLP in the sense that those still living are referred to or discussed. The real question is whether Amadscientist is correct with respect to Schneider and, especially, Newton himself, one who died 1 year 4 months ago and the other approximatey 24 years ago. As you must be aware, much of what Amadscientist is quite unclear (e.g. "The recently dead are covered through the time period of this subjects death."), which is why I have not commented.
You seem to have unlimited time to devote to endless disputes and referrals; I do not. I can understand now why Pokey5945 left in utter frustration. I might add that collaborative editing involves give and take. As noted above, I am more than willing to stand by while you add material and perspectives that run counter to my own opinions. I would ask that you return the favor.Apostle12 (talk) 21:26, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
I am not willing to substitute quid pro quo (even had i recognized it as such) for discussion and reference to policy. If you are confused about the correctness of Amadscientist's statments re:WP:BLP then you might, as I have suggested already, post a question at WP:BLPN.
Please also see WP:NORUSH, WP:DEM, and WP:ENEMY
-- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 21:50, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Also aproppriate: WP:CHILL and WP:PANIC. My response to WP:TIAD in this case would be that the information is contained in Shadow already, so interested parties can refer to that. it is still the single-most-frequently-referenced resource in this article, if i'm not mistaken.
If after having a more thorough discussion at e.g. WP:BLPN or WP:RSN, the consensus is that the paragraph should be re-inserted I will be more than happy to do so myself. -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 21:58, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
Perhaps you might be willing to acknowledge that substituting wikilawyering for discussion is not a collaborative approach. Have posted at WP:BLPN. Apostle12 (talk) 22:01, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
I have been completely transparent and forward with my arguments and rationale. I was also surprised by Amadscientist's claim that everyone born in the last 115 years is "recently dead" but I was certainly not going to say otherwise without further discussion, as on WP:BLPN. -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 22:43, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── I have posted at the RSN.

Latest addition to the John Frey shooting[edit]

Until yesterday, 13 February 2013, the section devoted to the fatal shooting of Oakland police officer John Frey concluded with a paragraph sourced to statements in Hugh Pearson's 1994 book, Shadow of the Panther. Various versions of this paragraph have existed on this page for years:

According to writer Hugh Pearson, Newton boasted to close friends that he willfully killed John Frey. Pearson also says Newton made the same claim to another friend, Willie Payne, just before Newton was murdered. Pearson states, "He admitted killing Officer John Frey. He said that before he killed Frey, the police and the power structure could just come down to the black community and do anything they wanted. But after he shot Frey, much of that changed."

An unnamed editor deleted the paragraph, and I reinstated it, after which editor UseTheCommandLine deleted it again. After some discussion on various pages, UsetheCommandLine rewrote the paragraph and again inserted it in the section devoted to the John Frey shooting. It now reads:

In his book Shadow of the Panther, writer Hugh Pearson alleges that Newton, while intoxicated in the hours before he was shot and killed, claimed to have willfully killed John Frey. Although this claim has been repeated elsewhere based on Pearson's account, the allegation remains contentious, and has not been corroborated by others.

While certainly true, this new version of the paragraph has several problems:

-It implies Newton's admission that he willfully killed John Frey occurred only while he was intoxicated during the hours before he was killed. This information is based on Pearson's interview with friend Willie Payne. However, according to Pearson, Newton made the same claim on other occasions. When Pearson interviewed sociobiologist Robert Trivors, for example, Trivors reported that Newton was "unabashedly proud" of killing John Frey and boasted about the killing to close friends . There is no specific indication that on these other occasions Newton was intoxicated. (Though the use of intoxicating substances was not unusual for Huey Newton during much of his adult life - his alcohol, cocaine, and crack cocaine habits were well known, and it may have been difficult to identify a time, even while in prison, when Newton did not regularly consume intoxicating substances.) The source for Newton having "boasted to close friends that he willfully killed John Frey" was Pearson's interview with Robert Trivors, a professor at U.C. Santa Cruz who taught Newton, whom Newton befriended, and who became one of the few white members of the Black Panther Party.
-The allegation remains contentious and has not been corroborated by others, however Pearson's credibility and the interviews he conducted with both Willie Payne and Robert Trivors survived intense scrutiny when Panther... was published in 1994. With two completely independent sources confirming that Newton admitted to killing John Frey (Willie Payne and Robert Trivors are not associated with one another) the allegation is taken seriously even by Panther scholars who disagree with Pearson's negative conclusions about Huey Newton and the Black Panthers in general. Pearson's allegation is referenced in many other derivative works.
-UseTheCommandLine only recently had added the part that until February 13 read: "He admitted killing Officer John Frey. He said that before he killed Frey, the police and the power structure could just come down to the black community and do anything they wanted. But after he shot Frey, much of that changed." This addition was important, because it linked Newton's killing of Officer Frey to a primary stated purpose of the Panthers - to end police brutality in the black ghettos of Oakland, CA. The new version fails to include this perspective.

I think this paragraph needs more work so that it makes clear that Pearson's allegations are not based solely on statements Newton made to Willie Payne while Newton was intoxicated on alcohol and crack cocaine during the hours just before Newton was murdered. Newton made similar statements to close friends, including Robert Trivers, presumbably when alcohol and crack cocaine were likely not prominent factors in his boasts and disclosures. In addition, Newton's stated justification for killing Officer Frey also demands inclusion, especially the fact that he was "unabashedly proud" of killing Officer John Frey. Apostle12 (talk) 08:33, 15 February 2013 (UTC)

Did you by any chance read the discussion at WP:DRN WP:RSN at all? -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 08:42, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
p. 290 "But he never came straight out and detailed his guilt in any murder." A search of all the other mentions of Trivors in Shadow suggests to me that maybe you are misremembering things. It happens. -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 09:02, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
You make a lot of assertions about Pearson, but I really don't see what you're on about. It reads like a dime store "true crime" thriller, with footnotes. -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 09:09, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Of course I read the discussion at WP:RSN
Please be aware that the Panther.. index is not comprehensive. Don't have time to review the entire book this evening, however you might consider p. 291 "Although Newton tended to be vague about his murders, he was unabashedly proud of one, although again he didn't go into details. 'The baddest nigger that ever walked' was the phrase he would use with me, because he had killed a white police officer and gotten away with it," remembers Trivors. Discussion of Newton's murders (and his rapes) continues on p. 292. Apostle12 (talk) 09:25, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Yeah, I'm going to have to say no. The only allegation even worthy of mention (and only as an allegation, because its only notability is in that others have repeated it, per discussion at WP:RSN) is the account on page 5-7, that is again referenced on 211(?). This claim is poorly sourced enough on its own, being as it's apparently based on hearsay from two people rather than just one. -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 09:27, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
And just to be crystal clear, what i mean by "say no" is "oppose the inclusion of the statements you are suggesting." You are of course free to do whatever you like to the article, though not without other people reacting. -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 09:43, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
No details = poor sourcing = non-RS, as far as I'm concerned. Insinuations like the one you cite are not even worth wasting time discussing. -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 09:31, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Actually, scratch that, I think I need clarification. If I am reading you correctly, you want additional language placed in the article based on Pearson's writings about Trivors' impression of Newton's guilt? -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 09:35, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
I haven't formulated exactly what wording might be appropriate. However I believe it is appropriate to include some reference to Trivors statements when Pearson interviewed him. It would be interesting to review any tapes Pearson might have made, although I doubt we will get that chance. My point is that Newton talked about the Frey killing to other close friends, not just Willie Payne, and he acknowledged having been proud that he killed Officer Frey.
The previous paragraph included the fact that Newton boasted about having killed Frey, because that helped a primary Panther cause. The current paragraph fails to convey this and emphasizes instead all the reasons the admissions he made to Willie Payne might be considered dubious.
Not as good in my opinion.
I trust, now that you have a copy of Panther.. that you will read it, rather than just relying on excerpts. In much of the rest of Panther literature, Panther boosters and apologists dismiss Pearson as "right-wing" or even as a "house nigger." If you read what he has to say, it will quickly become obvious that this is not the case at all. Pearson came to his negative conclusions about Huey Newton and the Black Panthers unwillingly; when he began his research he was inclined to give them more credit. Apostle12 (talk) 10:11, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Please see also Pearson at p.221: "The rationale for a ruling of involuntary manslaughter, the defense team theorized, was that if if Newton actually shot Frey he did so only after he himself had been wounded (again, years later Newton would boast to close friends that he willfully murdered John Frey)." This was one of the cites for the wording of the original paragraph. Apostle12 (talk) 15:56, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
The only reason I am bothering to respond is so that there is a public record of this.
  • I implore you not to ever use that vile phrase -- at the absolute minimum, not in a discussion with me.
  • If you're interested in things like reviewing tapes etc fine, but that has no place on WP as that would be both WP:OR and non-RS.
  • The sourcing of all of those statements is the same: two interviews, which have been uncorroborated by others. Saying it three times does not make it true, or any more credible when it is based on the very same sources. There are no additional sources listed in the reference section for those assertions. They are again, all based on the same two interviews.
  • Which brings me back around to a concern I noted earlier, which is confirmed based on what I have read of Shadow so far -- Pearson is not to be trusted as a source; regardless of Pearson's stated views, the research is shoddy and the narrative descriptions bring only one phrase to mind: yellow journalism
  • I have engaged your concerns on this point in good faith for, quite frankly, far longer than they deserved. In the future, it should not be a surprise to you if I am less willing to engage.
  • Again, I will not be responding further should you feel you need to rebut these points, so feel free to have the last word. Indeed, I will be trying my best to avoid the Talk page here for at least the next few weeks.
  • -- UseTheCommandLine (talk) 20:03, 15 February 2013 (UTC)
Interesting. To the best of my knowledge this is the first time you have engaged in discussion at all - always before you wikilawyered or you posted on various noticeboards, filing bogus complaints about my behavior and seeking reinforcement for your own positions. Sorry you find actual discussion so taxing.
FYI, the "vile phrase" you so obliquely refer to is not something I said, or ever would say. In point of fact, I was quoting an ex-Black Panther disparaging Hugh Pearson - "house n____r" was among the tamer of the insults he used. I have lived in the Bay Area all my life and witnessed the rise and fall of the Black Panther Party. If this "vile phrase" makes you blanche, I can assure you that contact with actual Panthers would upset you far more.
I only said that reviewing any tapes Pearson might have made would be "interesting." I never voiced any intent to edit the article based on such reviews. Pretty religious about O.R.
Trust you will enjoy your break. Meanwhile I will work on a well-sourced revision that better conveys what Pearson wrote, preserving of course your contributions. Unlike you, I don't just wipe out other people's edits; try to build on them. Apostle12 (talk) 07:03, 16 February 2013 (UTC)

Just out of interest folks, why is Charles Garry's autobiography (Streetfighter in the Courtroom) not cited here? I'm pretty sure it has information from the Newton trial (1968) which indicates that Frey was killed by a shot in the back from short range. Given Heanes's distance from the Frey-Newton struggle and the improbability of Frey shooting himself in the back, the implication is clear. It might help to clarify this debate. POUMista (talk) 15:33, 21 May 2013 (UTC)

I wont be editing the article itself for at least the next few months, just FYI. As I currently understand it, the issue is not so much whether Newton shot Frey as the implication Apostle12 made regarding what was effectively a deathbed admission of intent; from what I could find, all the sources that suggest this admission was made are sourced to Pearson, which in turn appears to be sourced to a single interview with Payne. Even Pearson's account of the interview(s) with Trivors are mostly insinuation with regard to Frey, and short on outright assertion. If you think Garry's book is germane, by all means include it. -- [ UseTheCommandLine ~/talk ] # _ 04:56, 26 May 2013 (UTC)
OK, fine. I'll maybe do it when I have a decent amount of time. Newton apparently also confessed to Ken Kelley, printed in ‘Huey: I’ll Never Forget’ East Bay Express September 15, 1989. An obscure but illuminating article, although not unproblematic! POUMista (talk) 10:47, 28 May 2013 (UTC)
Newton confessed to Kelley that he murdered Kathleen Smith and that he ordered the murder of Betty van Patter. I don't think Kelley document a confession re the Frey murder.Pokey5945 (talk) 19:49, 2 October 2013 (UTC)

This discussion is emblematic of why I stopped editing this article. Hagiographers simply dismiss sources they dislike. A complete rendition of the Frey murder would address the bus-driver witness's account of the murder, Newton's car-jacking an escape vehicle and his confession to the driver/victim.Pokey5945 (talk) 18:36, 26 July 2013 (UTC)

graduating without being able to read?[edit]

He graduated from tech without being able to read? How is this possible? At the very least this must be an exageration! — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:25, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

There is excellent evidence from multiple sources indicating that Newton was functionally illiterate, and that his college papers, dissertation, and books were mostly ghostwritten. Unfortunately, the POV-warriors will not permit these facts to be included in this article.Pokey5945 (talk) 15:35, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
The fact that someone deleted my talk page comment above is a good indication of the significant dysfunction in this editing community.Pokey5945 (talk) 20:36, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Stop trying to hide my comments.Pokey5945 (talk) 15:09, 27 September 2013 (UTC)
There have been a number of lengthy discussions about assertions of Newton's literacy level. Please see the talk page archives for additional detail. -- UseTheCommandLine ~/talk ]# ▄ 21:44, 26 September 2013 (UTC)


Xenophrenia inserted the following: "Eventually, however, the illicit activities of a few members would be superimposed on the social program work performed by the Panthers, and this mischaracterization would lose them support in both the white and black communities." The insertion of the words "few" and "mischaracterization" are blatant POV.Pokey5945 (talk) 14:31, 11 December 2013 (UTC)

While it may be possible to find a source that uses these words (I haven't double-checked the AUstin book yet), there are other sources with different perspective. The fact remains that these two workds are blatant POV.Pokey5945 (talk) 03:14, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
Pokit9548, checking sources before editing is a good habit to cultivate. No words (if that is what you meant) are inherently "POV"; conveying something other than what reliable sources do, however, is another matter entirely. If you intended to say "works", please explain how they are "POV". Thanks, Xenophrenic (talk) 03:31, 3 March 2014 (UTC)
Fair enough; all good points. The macro problem with this article has always been the selective use of sources, and the attempts to discount or even conceal sources that say negative things about the subject.Pokey5945 (talk) 19:31, 3 March 2014 (UTC)

People's Temple[edit]

I don't see the notability of this section. Newton had contact with many individuals and groups. Should we remove it?Pokey5945 (talk) 23:31, 3 April 2014 (UTC)