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David Hilliard

David Hilliard, a founding member and Chief of Staff of the Black Panther Party, is an incomparable authority on the life, legacy, and intellectual history of Black Panther leader Huey P. Newton. Indeed, no other scholar of or direct participant in the Black Liberation Movement of the 1960s and 1970s offers a more intimate understanding of Newton's activism and ideas. First as childhood classmates and later as young adult comrades in the African-American freedom struggle, Hilliard enjoyed a close association with Newton that endured throughout the Black Panther leader's lifetime.

Hilliard is author of the book, This Side of Glory, a compelling personal narrative and electrifying eyewitness account of the Black Panther Party, which highlights Newton's fearless crusade against police brutality and other examples of social injustice. Hilliard's life story dramatically illuminates this revolutionary movement and explains much of the U.S.'s present racial and political troubles. Hilliard's thoughtful, well-balanced insights into Newton's complex personality dramatizes the contradictions between the revolutionary icon and the private citizen.

By the early 1970s, the Black Panthers were a nationwide/global organization providing free food, medicine, and legal services to the inner city poor. Hilliard's book provides a first-hand account of Huey Newton's shoot-out, the killing of Fred Hampton, how money was raised and spent, the sexual mores of the Panthers, and how illegal activities erupted and were controlled. The Panthers, once labeled, "the greatest threat to the internal security of the United States," by FBI Director, J. Edgar Hoover, began to dissolve as police raids, gun battles, IRS investigations, trials, and prison terms decimated their ranks. Covert tactics turned Panthers against each other. What the government had not destroyed, the Panthers finished themselves.

Hilliard is currently at work on the first ever biography of the Black Panther leader, Huey, the Spirit of the Panther, to be published in 2005 by Thunder's Mouth Press.

Since 1993, David Hilliard has directed the activities of the Dr. Huey P. Newton Foundation, a grass-roots community-based non-profit organization committed to preserving and fostering Newton's intellectual legacy. The Foundation has collected Newton's writings covering the Huey P. Newton Reader, (Seven Stories, 2002), and his early work, To Die for the People, in addition to reissuing Newton's autobiography, Revolutionary Suicide. A photographic history of the Party, The Legacy of the Panthers, has also been published. Hilliard's work with the Foundation has been featured in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, and The Los Angeles Times, as well as on National Public Radio and the Pacifica Radio Network.

Now an internationally recognized authority on Newton and the Black Panther Party, David Hilliard teaches at Merritt College, Laney College, and New College, and lectures frequently throughout the United States. He was an advisor on the feature film, "Panther," and on the Spike Lee-produced, "A Huey P. Newton Story."

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