Photos: Inauguration Day in Washington

Malcolm X

The Black Panthers and the social gospel

The Black Panthers and the social gospel

No one knows when the idea entered Huey Newton's brain, kindling it like a forest fire. To be sure, he had been a wayward youth, engaged in burglaries and fistfights — sometimes with more than fists — eventually spending even some weeks in The Hole, that California penal institution later outlawed by the Supreme Court.

But at some point, in the course of human events, the idea occurred to him.

He would start a political party.

And not just any party, a party with congresses and rules of order, but a party of action. You see, Jesus was never in a church.

Little is known about the Black Panther Party, founded 50 years ago. Much is believed. It is believed...