Poster of Huey P. Newton, signed and inscribed, circa 1967. Estimate $4,000 to $6,000.
Ensconced in a wicker chair, holding a rifle in one hand and a spear in the other–the indelible image of the young leader continues to resonate today. The example in our upcoming auction is the only known signed copy ever offered. It reads “To Ben, with much love, Huey.” The date commonly given to the image, captioned The Racist Dog Policemen Must Withdraw Immediately from our Communities, is 1967 or ‘68; however, another photograph of Newton taken in 1967 shows the image behind him, pushing the date of the better-known poster back to 1966-67.
Lot 113: Poster of Huey Newton in front of another poster of himself, circa 1967. Estimate $500 to $750.
The second photograph was taken by Ted Streshinsky at the Black Panther headquarters in July 1967, two months after Newton gained national attention for walking armed into a California legislative session, and less than six months before he was arrested for the shooting of a policeman. The case was subsequently dropped, but Newton was imprisoned in October 1967 until 1970, making a 1968 date for the first photograph impossible. A campaign was launched to “free Huey,” and subsequent public pressure was, in part, responsible for the dismissal of the case.
Free Huey, silk screen poster, circa 1968. Sold February 25, 2010, for $4,560.
The Black Panther party was formalized in Oakland in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. The name was inspired by a political party founded the year before in Lowndes County, Alabama, whose aim was to increase voter registration among African Americans.
Black Panther ’67, cloth flag, from Lowndes County, Alabama. Sold March 21, 2013 for $43,200.
The Oakland Panthers were invested in more than voter registration. They were staunch supporters of open-carry laws, and advocated for militant defense of African-American neighborhoods. Armed members patrolled streets, as ready to protect residents from policemen as drug dealers. Newton also organized philanthropical efforts to help the community, including medical centers and a breakfast program for children.