Did You Know Black Panthers Co-founder, Bobby Seale, Was Born on This Day?

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Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton organized their beliefs and a generation of African Americans to form the Black Panthers in Oakland, California. Seale has spent his life trying to improve lives and social services in African American neighborhoods.

Bobby Seale was born Robert George Seale on October 22, 1936 in Dallas, Texas. After the family relocated across the country to California, Seal began attending Berkeley High School, where started to become politically minded. In 1955, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. After being discharged from the Air Force, Seale met Huey P. Newton at Merritt College. 

The two quickly became friends and soon Seale developed his political foundation after listening to a speech given by Malcolm X. By October of 1966, Seale and Newton were ready to solidify their beliefs. They founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense and established the 10-Point Platform. This set the direction and goals for the BPP.

The Black Panthers were created to defend African American neighborhoods from the Oakland Police Department. The organization quickly expanded in scope and the Panthers became a new voice in the Civil Rights Movement. The Panthers focused their efforts on community outreach and rejected the nonviolent approach. The BPP operated medical clinics and a free breakfast program that served multiple cities.

In 1970, Seale published an account of the formation and history of the Panthers in his book Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton. Seale also went on to run for Mayor of Oakland in 1973 and came in second out of nine candidates. He turned back to writing after his run for office and published his autobiography, A Lonely Rage in 1978, and a cookbook titled Barbeque’n with Bobby

Once the Black Panther Party dissolved, Seale taught in the Afro-American Studies Department at Temple University in Philadelphia. However, he moved back to Oakland in 2002 to help guide the next generation of young activists in their struggle for social change. 

Bobby Seale has given lectures worldwide regarding his involvement with the Black Panther Party and continues his efforts in community organizing and racial justice. In 2016, Seale and his co-author Stephen Shames published Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers

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