Bobby Seale

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Bobby Seale in 2006.
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Bobby Seale (1936–) was a founding member of the Black Panther Party, along with Huey Newton.

With the Panthers[edit]

Seale rose to prominence as the author of Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton, published in 1970. He was mostly famous as a defendant in the Chicago Eight conspiracy trial and the New Haven Black Panther murder trials.

In the Chicago Eight case, he was charged for conspiring to incite a riot at the 1968 Democratic National Convention along with his co-defendants, the Chicago Seven. This was despite the fact that he hardly knew them before the trial. During the trial, the Black Panthers' attorney, Charles Garry, was recovering from a surgery, and the definitely not racist judge Julius Hoffman refused Seale's request for a delay. Seale often loudly spoke out-of-turn against the obvious kangaroo court, calling the judge a racist and a fascist on the court record. The absolutely not racist judge Julius Hoffman responded by having Seale bound and gagged during the court proceedings, and charged him with 16 different instances of contempt of court, a total sentence of four years, the longest in American history. Hoffman eventually declared Seale's trial a mistrial, and his trial was separated from the Seven's to be deliberated in the future. After the other seven were acquitted, the conspiracy charge against Seale lost meaning and was dropped.

In 1970 he was on trial for ordering the murder of a suspected police informant, as Seale was fingered by the actual hit leader, who had turned State's evidence. The trial, which turned the city of New Haven into a madhouse of epic proportions, resulted in a jury failing to reach a verdict and charges subsequently being dropped. Seale was released from prison in 1972 after his contempt sentences were overturned. He was suspected of, but never charged with, the murder of another Panther who was suspected of impregnating his wife and about whom he had written an inflammatory article. Seale was the second-place finisher in the Oakland, CA Mayoral race of 1972, establishing the Black Panther Party as a force to be reckoned with in city politics. David Horowitz claimed that Huey Newton held Seale at gunpoint, then proceeded to beat and severely injure him in 1974, over an argument about a film being made about the Panthers, but Seale has denied this.[1] Either way, he left the party shortly after this point.

After the Panthers[edit]

Seale returned to public life in 1978, with the publication of A Lonely Rage. He has since then written a book on barbecuing and articles on other topics, taught at Temple University, and appeared in several documentaries. In the documentary film Berkeley in the 60s, he comes across as charismatic, warm, insightful, and humorous - remarkably undamaged by the traumas he experienced during his Panther years. His description of the interaction of the Black Panthers with white radical groupies is one of the highlights of the film.