Martin Luther King Jr and Huey P Newton: Towards a Love Supreme

Huey P Newton’s memoir “Revolutionary Suicide” is the equal (and in some ways superior) to “The Autobiography of Malcolm X” and should be read and taught as such. Three themes are especially compelling in the book: the existence of God; romantic Love; and the confrontation with death. He approaches each as a revolutionary, for whom these issues take on particular significance, because of the imperative of sacrifice assumed by revolutionaries, especially in times of intense struggle. Newton put Love of the people above all other forms of love. Only through this Love could one assume his/her revolutionary duties and consistently engage the enemies of the people. Revolutionary Love is what John Coltrane called “A Love Supreme”. Martin Luther King was a Christian and Newton was a non believer; they both radiated revolutionary Love for the people and the struggle for freedom (this is what Coltrane meant by A Love Supreme). This Love Supreme transcends the individual and the romantic; it is a Love which inspires the individual to sacrifice him/herself for the people and for revolutionary principles. For King the Love of God and the Love of the people were unalterably bound; as is insisted in First John “God is Love” and God’s Love can become manifest through individuals to the extent they become servants of the poor and oppressed. Newton ‘s life was dedicated to bringing about a revolution that would overturn the capitlist economic system and racial oppression.King fought to overturn the systems of racist oppression and war , in so doing he called for a revolution of values which would lead to a Beloved Community of human beings, which was/is incompatible with capitalist greed and selfishness. Hence, A Love Supreme is by its very defintion Revolutionary Love. In celebrating King and Newton we lift up their embrace of love as decisive to revolutionary action and sacrifice. As Che Guevara famously insisted, “And need I mention, revolution is an act of Love”.

About Anthony Monteiro

I am a activist and scholar who is a professor in the Department of African American Studies at Temple University.
This entry was posted in Black Intellectual, Political and Ideological Issues, Political and Ideological Issues. Bookmark the permalink.

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