Cofounder of the Black Panther
Born in Dallas, Texas, his family moved
to Oakland, California when he was seven-years old. He met Huey Newton while both
were enrolled in Merritt College. Bobby Seale was the chairman and co-founder, along
with Huey Newton, of the Black Panther Party, an organization formed in 1966 to guard
against police brutality in Black neighborhoods and provide social services.
Eventually the party developed into a
militant, Marxist revolutionary group with thousands of members in several major
cities. In 1969, Seale, as one of the "Chicago Eight," was charged
with conspiracy to incite riots during the 1968 Democratic
National Convention. Charges against him were eventually dropped, but not before
he had been bound and gagged to silence his courtroom outbursts.
In 1970-71, he was tried for the
torture-murder of former Panther Alex
Rackley, who was suspected of being a police informant. That trial ended in a
hung jury, and afterward Seale moderated his more militant views, leaving the Panthers
altogether in 1974.
Revised: July 18, 2013.