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BOBBY SEALE

Cofounder of the Black Panther Party (1937-)

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.