Today we will visit with Bobby Seale who, along with Huey P. Newton, formed the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. The Black Panther Party for Self Defense (BPP) was formed in 1966 in Oakland California and by November of that year had six “original” members. Bobby Seale ( Chairman), Huey P. Newton (Minister of Defense), “Little” Bobby Hutton (Treasurer), Elbert “Big Man” Howard and Reggie and Sherman Forte (related; brothers). The Panthers practiced militant self-defense of minority communities against the U.S. government, and fought to establish revolutionary socialism through mass organizing and community based programs. The party was one of the first organizations in U.S. history to militantly struggle for ethnic minority and working class emancipation — a party whose agenda was the revolutionary establishment of real economic, social, and political equality across gender and color lines. In 1967 and 1968, Eldridge Cleaver (Minister of Information) and Stokely Carmichael (Prime Minister) became prominent members of the BPP along with Fred Hampton in Chicago and continued the struggle for the establishment of real economic, social, and political equality across gender and color lines.
Over the course of his life, Seale was arrested multiple times, the most major charges being his involvement at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. In 1969, Seale was indicted in Chicago for conspiracy to incite riots. The court refused to allow him to have his choice of lawyer. When Seale continually rose to speak out for his constitutional rights, specifically to choose his own counsel, the judge ordered him bound and gagged. He was convicted of 16 counts of contempt and sentenced to four years in prison, which was later reversed. In 1970-71 he and a co-defendant were tried for the 1969 murder of a Black Panther suspected of being a police informer. The six-month-long trial ended with a hung jury.
Bobby Seale continues today speaking of his involvement with the Black Panthers and is an advocate for civil rights and social change.
Video; BPP Ten Point Program:
Video; Bobby Seale Speaks (4 parts):
Thanks for your attention.