Bobby Seale was one of the co-founders of the Black Panther Party. He was born on October 22, 1939 in Dallas Texas. By the time Bobby was ten his family moved to Oakland, California where he would have a rough childhood. Seales family was very poor so this only added to his dire childhood. Bobby eventually dropped out of high school and at 18 he was indicted into the Air Force. He was immediately sent to Amarillo, Texas to receive training as an aircraft sheet-metal mechanic. He soon graduated from the Technical School Class of Air Force training with honors. After that, he was moved to Rapid City, South Dakota at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Bobby served here for three and a half years and left with the rank of corporal. After he left the Air Force he enrolled at Merrit College in Oakland where he intended to study engineering. Bobby first became interested in 1962 when he first heard Malcolm-X speak. During his enrollment at the University, he joined the Afro-American Association (AAA) which was an organization formed by young African-Americans in Oakland to try to confront the problems faced by the black community. This was an organization that tried to confront the problem faced by the black community. Seale got interested very quickly and was inspired by such people as Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. du Bois. Another member of the AAA named Huey Newton had very similar beliefs as Bobby. Soon Bobby became one of the many black activists who broke away from the traditional non-violent protests to preach a doctrine of militant black empowerment. Bobby and Huey became very close friends and in 1966 formed the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Bobby Seale is still alive today and is no longer involved in violent protests. He is running his own web site that tells of his adventures and why he did everything he did in his earlier years.
Huey Percy Newton was the other major co-founder of the Black Panther Party. Huey was born on February 17, 1942, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was the youngest of Armelia and Walter Newton’s seven children. When he was three years old he moved to Oakland, California. Huey and his family fled to the hard core side of Oakland because his father was looking for good work that was out of the Louisiana Bayou. While Huey was living and growing up in East Oakland, he tried going to Law school, which didn’t work out for him. So he ended up at Merritt College where he would soon meet Bobby Seale at an (AAA) Alcohols Anonymous Association meeting. Huey pressed his views on Bobby continuously and soon shaped Bobby to become what he would. Bobby and Huey became best friends and would from the Black Panther Party. Newton started doing drugs and was quick to become an addict. Throughout his years in the party everything started getting worse and going downhill. Newton’s problems continued. He faced charges on cocaine possession. Oakland investigators knew of Newton’s addiction to cocaine and later crack. Police say he went into this tough west Oakland neighborhood in his girlfriend’s car. Neighbors told police they heard three shots. An officer was one minute away, but it was too late. Newton was bleeding from three large gunshot wounds. He used to recruit for the Black Panthers in this neighborhood 20 years ago, later he came back and was killed.
Black Panthers Now
When Katherine Ann Power surrendered, after almost twenty five years underground, a generation of sixties activists watched in sympathetic fascination. But some watched from behind bars. The African-American radicals of the sixties, inspired by the Black Panthers, were motivated by the same high moral. The difference is that many have spent the dominant decades not underground, not on probation, but in prison. In New York State there are at least eight former Black Panthers still in jail, some of them since the early 1970s, for the same sort of politically-motivated acts for which Power was hunted. They are among twenty-five to thirty Panthers imprisoned nationwide. Some were members of the original “Panther 21,” targets of police entrapment. Some were with the Black Liberation Army, formed after the Panthers were decimated by the FBI’s covert anti-Black leadership program (COINTELPRO). Some, like California’s Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt or New York’s Dhoruba Bin Wahad, were framed; others were convicted on tainted evidence; all were sentenced far too harshly. Robert “Seth” Hayes has been in jail the longest, since 1971. Teddy “Jah” Heath has been in jail since 1973 for a kidnapping in which no one was injured. Herman Bell, Albert “Nuh” Washington and Anthony Bottoms (the “New York Three”) are still in prison even though a federal judge recently ruled that testimony convicting them of killing a policeman was perjured. Abdul Majid and Bashir Hameed, convicted of killing a policeman in 1981 after two mistrials, are now appealling their third trial in which the prosecution used eighty percent of its challenges to exclude Black jurors. Most of these men, who have already been in prison for decades, will not be eligible for parole until long after Katherine Ann Power has returned to freedom.