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Huey Percy Newton was born on February 17, 1942, in Monroe, Louisiana. When he was a young child, he and his family moved to Oakland, California (via School History). He was illiterate when he graduated from high school, but he taught himself how to read and write and eventually attended Meritt College. It was here where he met Bobby Seale, the other co-founder of the Black Panther Movement, according to History.
Newton had participated in protests at Merritt College, was a member of the Afro-American Association, and convinced the administration to offer classes on African American history, according to the National Archives. In October 1966, after the assassination of Malcolm X, Newton and Seale formed the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, later shortened to just the Black Panther Party. Heavily inspired by Malcolm X’s ideas and beliefs, the group believed that in order to achieve equality for African Americans, violence may be necessary (via the National Archives).