Monday, January 18, 2010

Mayor Dave Disses Huey Newton on MLK Day

On his taxpayer-funded blog, Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz made a point of using Martin Luther King Day to call for patience and moderation in current politics. While he specifically referred to the enormous problems faced by President Obama, I suspect he was subconsciously thinking of all of the commenters on any of's articles about the city's snow removal efforts.

Mayor Dave concluded by saying: "We don't remember the ineffective extremists, but rather we remember those who moved the middle. We don't celebrate Huey Newton Day. We remember Martin Luther King Jr." (h/t Brenda Konkel)

Maybe we should celebrate Huey Newton Day. Newton was not "an ineffective extremist" as Mayor Dave implies. The Black Panthers were innovators. Every low-income family whose children are fed a nutritious breakfast at their public school owes a debt to the Panthers, who pioneered the free breakfast program that was later co-opted by the federal government. Every Open Carry Picnic organizer owes a debt to the Panthers, who were the first to deliberately demonstrate their second amendment rights by peacefully and publically bearing arms. For the historically curious, this is a good place to start:

It amazes me that the supposedly well-educated Mayor of a supposedly progressive city like Madison could be so ignorant and so dismissive of the importance of Huey Newton.


Tim Morrissey said...

Well-said. Extra points for "taypayer-funded blog" re: Cieslewicz, which permits no comments or responses. And a shame that in Madison, of all cities, Newton is dismissed and dissed.

Dan said...

You're kidding, aren't you? Huey Newton Day? Ummm, no.

Ordinary Jill said...

I would think the Tea Party movement would be sympathetic to many of the Black Panthers' past struggles and triumphs for civil liberties, even if they disagree with their socialist platform. While mainstream America considered the Panthers nothing but criminal thugs at the time, later court testimony, as well as a modern forensic examination of the bullet holes at the scene of one infamous shoot-out, largely vindicated the Panthers' claims that they were being targeted, harrassed and framed by law enforcement. Any populist movement that is loudly critical of our government should learn from their history, lest they find themselves similarly victimized.