|Name||Robert George "Bobby" Seale|
Oakland, California , United States
|| October 22, 1936
Sep 13, 2004 11:42pm
|Info||Bobby Seale is the founding Chairman and National Organizer of the Black Panther Party, 1966 to 1974. In his life time he has lectured at more than 2000 Colleges & Universities, averaging two  appearances each across the USA, plus several hundred community and protest movement |
Speaking-advocacy events since 1967 when his name first became a house whole reference. Bobby Seale lead an armed delegation into the California State legislature May 2nd, 1967. Since that time Mr. Seale, who survived two major political court room trials, one slated as the Trial Of The Century, is a sixties icon who has appeared on more than a thousand television interview shows, a thousand radio interviews, with more than two thousand print media articles, with the latest TV and Radio appearances numbering over one hundred, plus the media promotion of the musical soundtrack to the documentary film Public Enemy.
With his wife Leslie and they Defining them selves as a "revolutionary humanist" Mr. Seale has remained a social change activist for 40 years: since spring semester 1962 at Merritt College in Oakland California. More than a hundred million plus people know of Bobby Seale and he is today networked with more than a thousand former BPP members across the USA. His personel files are a working effort in progress.
1. Early life Background.
Bobby Seale was raised from the age of six years old as a carpenter-builder and hunter-fisherman. He was born in Dallas Texas in 1936 and graduated from BERKELEY High school to become an architect. In High school he rejected "dumb street gangs" to identify with the historical plight of the Souix-Lakota Native Americans. After a four year stint [three years, ten months and eleven days] in the United States Airforce , stationed in Rapid City South Dakota at Ellesworth Air Force Base as an aircraft sheet metal mechanic, by March of 1959, he moved to Los Angeles practicing several skills and trades. In this three year interim while working in the Air Craft industry, Bobby Seale, was also, part time, a stand up comedian and jazz drummer and returned to the San Francisco-Oakland Area in 1961.
At age 26, by 1962 Bobby Seale was enrolled as an Engineering Design major at Merritt College in Oakland California, with full time night shift employment at Kaiser AeroSpace & Electronics as a Gemini Missile non-destruct parts inspector. It was that 1962 spring semester when Bobby Seale became interested in the civil rights protest movement, launching his personnel research, advocacy and study into the whole of African and African American peoples history of struggle for constitutional democratic civil-human rights. He was further inspired by the works, advocacy and protest actions of Martin Luther King Jr.; Nelson Mandella and Malcolm X.
2. Early Sixties Activist Involvement, Employment and Organizations:
1962 joined Afro American Association [Merritt College]; 1962 co-creator of Afro American Study Group [Merritt College]; 1963 UC Research Center @ Berkeley; 1964 Revolutionary Action Movement [West Coast division]; 1964 North Richmond Tutorial Program; 1965 co-creator BHFG: Black History Fact Group [Merritt College]; 1966 Creator SSAC: Soul Students Advisory Council [Merritt college]; 1966 to May 1967 City Of Oakland Dept., Of Human Resources with NONSC: North Oakland Neighborhood Service Center.
3. Uncle Sammy Called Me Full Of Lucifer!
By spring 1966 Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale were arrested on Telegraph Avenue near UC Berkeley. Their arrest resulted from a fight with Berkeley police following Bobby Seale's recital of an anti-draft poem, "Uncle Sammy Called Me Full Of Lucifer!" They were arrested and charged with assault on police officers. They were bailed out of jail by Seale's wife Artie Seale and by mid October, 1966 the court put them on one year probation each, after their no-contest pleas. Attorney John George represented them. By October 15th 1966 Bobby Seale insisted to Huey that they meet at his NONSC office later that night and, "…write out our program for the new organization." At the time they had no name for their idea of a new organization, about which they had debated others and talked about the need for since the death of Malcolm X. Eighteen months, and through two organizing efforts, SSAC and The Black History Fact Group, both of which were literally started and organized by Bobby Seale out of his home across the street from Merritt College, with the co-creator help of Virtual Murell, who was Seale's close friend and Merritt College student, finally Newton and Seale with the break up of SSAC over legal fees money they decided to create a grass roots community based political revolutionary organization.
The Ten Point Program:
After the program rewrite with Melvin Newton's assistance, Huey's brother and UC graduate student, and Seale's ready to be printed stencil layout completion on October 22, 1966 by Bobby Seale, of their Ten Point Program document entitled "What We Want… What we believe" they agreed upon the name, The Black Panther Party For Self Defense. In effect the final founding date was October 22, 1966 when Seale and Newton with the flip of a coin, named themselves Chairman and Minister Of Defense, respectively.
While Huey Newton voiced the need for effective dedicated small group organizing, Bobby Seale's stated objective was nation wide organizing so as to unite all the Black Community voters into a political movement to ultimately run for political offices to man and or take over the majority of localized political city council seats in urban cities and rural counties where African Americans represented large populations. The ballot or the bullet with a preference for the ballot was key to Seale's idea of gaining "constitutional democratic civil-human rights!"
The most immediate activity designed by Newton was to use "legal" guns to patrol police. Along with the objective of organizing armed patrols and observation of the police. Using the first and second amendment rights, complete with law books, legal aid, and copies of the Ten Point Program, and in Huey P. Newton's words, "So we can capture the imagination of the people." In Seale's words, "Then organize the people into a political machine!"
With the armed patrols of police Seale and Newton were reacting to not only to the numerous acts of rampant police brutality in the black community as their main issue to organize around, but they were also reacting to several years of media reporting of [and their personel observation of Anti-Vietnam war Berkeley protesters], peaceful demonstrators being beaten, brutalized and murdered across the USA. Which was an on going legal argument in debates in the community and around UC Berkeley and Merritt College. Debates lead by Huey Newton that the police and government were violating the first amendment of the US constitution when they brutalized peaceful demonstrators. [By fall of 1966 with the founding of the BPP Newton had completed two years in San Francisco law school]
With their Ten Point Program first draft Seale and Newton secured two guns: An Army .45 for Seale and an M-1 Carbine for Newton from their UC Berkeley academic friend, Richard Aoki, a UC Berkeley student and political revolutionary friend to Seale and Newton. Who gave them the guns to begin their patrols of the police in the San Francisco Oakland Bay Area. The third gun came from "Big Man" Elbert Howard, a Merritt College Student who was the second person to join the BPP after Little Bobby Hutton. Bobby Hutton was Bobby Seale's Youth Assistant employed at the NONSC.
Within two weeks the first six members of the party were: Bobby Seale, Huey P. Newton, "Little" Bobby Hutton, "Big Man" Elbert Howard, and two brothers, Reggie and Sherwin Forte. Within two months additional members were; Richard Aoki, Orlando Harrison, Warren Tucker, Big Willie, John Salon, and six other young black males who had worked in Bobby Seale's 1966 Summer Youth Jobs Program at the NONSC, and two females named Kathy and Matalaba who were members for only three months. Extended female membership was stated to Bobby Seale's wife Artie Seale and Huey P. Newton's girl friend, Lavern Williams who came very few to meetings but differed with Seale and Newton about their safety.
4. First Office and The Black Community News Service.
In the first week of January 1967 Bobby Seale paid the rent and secured the first office of the Black Panther Party For Self Defense at 5624 Grove Street, two blocks from Seale's home at 809 57th Street and one block from Merritt College. The previous BPP headquarters operation was at Bobby Seale's home.
PE, political education sessions were scheduled and held every Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday's at 2:00 p.m. complete with weapons safety. "Big Man" Elbert Howard and Bobby Seale, the only ones with formal military training, taught, with the assistance of Richard Aoki, the first several members, including Huey Newton, safety and how to shoot and, how to break down and reassemble all the several hand guns and rifle weapons accumulated by January 1967. Huey Newton taught legal aid and articulated constitutional rights surrounding the Ten Point Program. Bobby Seale articulated organizing methods and inspired the early membership with ideals of political electoral empowerment. Seale drafted the first application form, drew up a list of reading material: [which included ] Seale laid out the title heading of the newspaper: THE BLACK PANTHER, Black Community News Service. Seale and Big Man Elbert wrote and produced the first mimeograph issue of the BPP newspaper at Seale's NONSC office. [By mid 1969 with the distribution organizing of Sam Napier, the BPP "Black Community News Service" newspaper would have an on time, every Saturday, weekly publication-circulation of over two hundred thousand nation wide which the FBI's COINTELPRO attempted to destroy. Through the life of the BPP totaling more than three hundred weekly issues by the time of the complete demise of the BPP by the late seventies.]
5. First Media Publicity, First Police Patrols Arrest.
With the armed escort of Malcolm X's wife, Betty Shabazz from the San Francisco airport to Ramparts Magazine, [initially organized by the rival BPP Of Northern California lead by Kenneth Freeman of RAM, who Seale had broke away from upon Malcolm X's death day], a physical tussle with between Newton and TV news reporters followed with an argumentative ready to shoot stand off with the San Francisco police in front of Ramparts magazine building, following Eldridge Cleaver's interview of Mrs. Shabazz, created the first establishment media publicity of Bobby Seale's and Huey Newton's Black Panther Party. Hitting the front page of the San Francisco Examiner in February 1967. [This article included first establishment media photo of Bobby Seale and Huey Newton armed, standing in front of first BPP office.]
While patrolling police, guns were never concealed for legal status, there were no arrest for five months. Only defiant legal arguments and near shoot-out stand-offs. Small crowds of people watched with wonderment, praise and fear. The verbal argumentative defiance, complete with armed but disciplined members, lead by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale, such gun toting legal-arguments with several policemen left the people and police shocked and dismayed. The first arrest connected with observations of police breaking into a black home, were of Huey P. Newton and Warren Tucker which charges were later dismissed. Immediately following Huey's first arrest, Bobby Seale and Little Bobby Hutton were accosted, then arrested following Huey's court appearance the next day. Seale and Hutton were charged with an 1887 law of having guns on grounds adjacent to a jail, in Oakland when they arrived to bail Huey Newton out of jail. Charges were dropped against Bobby Hutton. These particular charges against Bobby Seale would last past and not be resolved until After Seale's historical court trials in Chicago in 1969, and The State of Connecticut in 1971.