By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare
Bobby Hutton (Robert James Hutton) was born on April 21, 1950, in Jefferson County, Arkansas. He was the son of John D. Hutton and Dolly Mae Mitchner-Hutton. At the age of three, Bobby and his family moved to Oakland, California after his family was visited by a group of white supremacists, threatening to harm his family.
As an adolescent, Hutton would meet Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, the two founders of the Black Panther Party in North Oakland, at the government funded Neighborhood Anti-Poverty Center, a program dedicated to the employment of local youths for service projects.
In 1966, at the age of 16, Hutton would become the first recruited member and also the first treasurer of the Black Panther Party.
In May of 1967, Hutton with thirty Black Panther Party members traveled to Sacramento, California to protest the Mulford Act at the state Capital , a bill that would make it illegal to carry loaded firearms while in public, when Hutton and others walked into the state assembly, he and four other panthers were arrested.
On April 6, 1968, during a failed ambush attempt on Oakland police, which was led by Elridge Cleaver, and was supposed to be blacklash for the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. , who was killed 2 days early, Hutton was killled during the shootout with the cops. Cleaver claimed that OPD shot Hutton more than a dozen times after he had already surrendered . Cleaver would later say ” What they did was first degree murder.”
Hutton’s funeral was held on April 12, at Ephesians Church of God in Berkeley, several famous people attended, including activist and author James Baldwin and actor Marlon Brando. At the time of his death, Bobby Hutton was only 17 years old.
Short artistic video on the legacy of Bobby Hutton
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