Ultimately, by applying Du Bois’ color line and Mills’ sociological imagination to Huey P. Newton’s life story, we gain insight into larger truths about the development of a political consciousness in relation to dominant systems of power. Through Revolutionary Suicide, we saw the color line as an obscuring agent in social interactions, and simultaneously understood the sociological imagination as a clarifying framework in radicalizing processes.
In light of this, revolutionary consciousness becomes something that is an ongoing process, constantly being molded and shaped by the fabric of lived experience. This does not dismiss the sociological imagination as a clarifying framework, but instead delineate it. Though people of color need no introduction to the damaging effects of racialized socialization, the sociological imagination offers a chance at organizing and understanding the emotions of these struggles and injustices within larger historical and political contexts. Just as importantly, from this organization comes the possibility of revolutionary consciousness and the ability to further generate new knowledge and creation, formed from the synthesis of experience and education.
This paper never sought to answer the question as to why some people practice revolutionary consciousness while others don’t, but through its examination, themes of dissatisfaction and frustration with system-given solutions arose. More importantly, the overlaying of conclusions drawn from individual revolutionaries against the larger backdrop of societal trends leaves us with a key takeaway— revolutionary consciousness is an exercise, not an achievement. Sociopolitical occurrences and personal troubles alike inform and change a person’s ideologies with every passing moment. Though institutions of power endeavor to see marginalized communities internalize their oppression and look for solutions from within the system, the understanding of revolutionary consciousness as a process reminds us to focus on people above all else, and to look at the sum of their stories and experiences. Simply put, the lesson of this piece is an intensely hopeful one— one that teaches us to look at people’s intellectual journeys as cycles of development, and to remember that the path to clarity, healing, and liberation is neither short nor straight.