Bobby Hutton Day 2003

Lil' Bobby Hutton Essay and Poetry Contest

This year's celebration of the life of Bobby Hutton was great. Lil Bobby, as he was known by Party members, would have been 53 years of age this year. Family, friends, comrades, and interested people came out to the West Oakland Library, across the street from DeFremery Park, also known as Bobby Hutton Park, named after Bobby's death in 1968.

In honoring Lil Bobby this year, It's About Time sponsored a number of photo exhibits in the city of Oakland. We also traveled to New Orleans, LA, to have two exhibits in honor of the Angola 3. One exhibit was at the Community Book Center and the other at the Critical Resistance Conference.

Bobby Hutton Day began after 1:00 with libations conducted by Frank Kellums. Next was Renee Guild, a vocalist and songwriter who as a youth attended the Community Learning Center. Her sweet voice was outstanding. Bro. Robinson was also on the program, displaying his tap dancing skills. Steve McCutchen (Party Member) delivered a powerful message in his poetry about the Party and Lil Bobby. The oral history presentation by Joy Holland was fantastic. It covered Black history in general as well as incorporating the history of the Party and Lil Bobby.

One of the highlights of the afternoon was Sister Tureeda, who worked at the George Jackson Clinic, doing some of her poetry. She was accompanied by the multi- talented Tarika Lewis, the first sister to join the Party, on violin. Tarika plays with the legendary John Handy.

The musical magic of Larry Robinson (One Man Band) was great. Also known as Star Groove, Larry used to play for the Lumpen, the Black Panther Party singing group. Bro. Freeman, a former Panther, gave a powerful speech on the legacy of the BPP and the different gangs that the Party transformed. He had worked with Bunchy Carter in the Southern California Chapter back in 1967.

The program also included guest speakers Kathleen Cleaver, former Communications Secretary and Central Committee member, and young Chairman Fred Hampton Jr., son of Fred Hampton who was murdered in his sleep by police and FBI agents in 1969.

Richard Aoki, former Field Marshall of the BPP spoke about his friendship with Bobby Hutton. Kathleen spoke about how she came to meet and know Lil Bobby. She spoke of his dedication and his love for the people and how courageous he was for a young man of 16. She also spoke to the fact that former members need to carry on the legacy of the Party in today's world.

Young Fred called on the former members to reach out to the young generation to teach them the skills and knowledge that we were taught and carried out in the community. Young Fred spoke of how he is carrying out the legacy of the Party as well as of his father. Richard Aoki talked about how bold and understanding Lil Bobby was and how he became the treasurer of the BPP because everyone trusted him. Hutton family members also took part in the celebration.

It was a perfect day, nice and warm. Christine Saed, head librarian, brought out a large cake with Happy Birthday Bobby Hutton on it. Young Fred, Kathleen and Richard Aoki all cut the cake and everyone sang Happy Birthday Lil Bobby, Stevie Wonder style. The afternoon ended with Star Groove playing "Got To Give It Up" by Marvin Gaye.

A number of Party members came out to celebrate including Tim Thompson, Terry Cotton, Kiilu, Minister of Culture Emory Douglas, David Johnson and Sundiata Tate, former political prisoners and members of the San Quentin Six.

There was a Free Clothing giveaway before the program started which was well received by the community. The MC of Bobby Hutton Day was Billy X.

It's About Time would like to thank the Commemorator Newspaper staff for their help and Food Not Bombs for the food. Thanks also to Jimmy Slater and Sam Brooks for their helping hands and Terry Cotton for helping to get the word out. A big thanks to Jeffrey Blankfort for having Billy X on his radio program on KPOOL, "Connecting the Dots." Thanks to Doug of Collision Course Video Productions from San Francisco for documenting this event

Page | 1 | | 2 |