twelve

• • •

Ringside at the Racial Revolution

The first thing I learned about him was that he loved music and played classical piano. We were introduced by his girlfriend, LaVerne Williams, a virtuoso mezzo soprano who would sweep the talent competition at the 1966 Miss Bronze Pageant. LaVerne clearly was smitten with this shy, softspoken yet intense Oakland City College student—he possessed a passion for the composition of Tchaikovsky, the poetry of Shakespeare, and the philosophies of Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus. The student had a beautiful face, and in him LaVerne felt she had found a soul mate who shared her artistic sensitivity.

“Belva,” LaVerne said, “this is Huey. Huey Newton.”

“Hi, nice to meet you,” he said.

His name meant nothing ...

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