Monday, March 22, 2010

Bobby Seale

Robert George "Bobby" Seale, is another American civil rights activist and revolutionary, who along with Huey P. Newton, co-founded the Black Panther Party For Self Defense on October 15, 1966 (and see last week's post on Richard Aoki). 
He also ran for Mayor of Oakland, California.

Born to a poor African American carpenter and his wife in Dallas, Texas, on October 22, 1936, Robert George (Bobby) Seale and his family moved to Texas, before finally settling in Oakland, California during World War II. 

Attributing his failure to make the basketball and football teams to racial prejudice, Seale quit Oakland High School and joined the U.S. Air Force. After three years in the Air Force, Seale was court-martialed and given a bad conduct discharge for disobeying a colonel at Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota.

Seale greatly admired Malcolm X and was particularly impressed with his teachings, especially by the idea that Black people had to defend themselves against white brutality and inaccurate education. The assassination of Malcolm X in 1965 pushed them to adopt Malcolm's slogan, "Freedom by any means necessary," and Seale and Newton  founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in October 1966.
In recent years, Seale’s actions differ greatly from the radical ones of his past. In 1987, he authored a cookbook called Barbeque'n with Bobby and was also a spokesman for Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. In the early 1990's Seale appeared on the TV documentary series 'Cold War' reminiscing about events in the 1960s. 
In 2002, Seale began dedicating his time to Reach!, a group focused on youth education programs. Also, he taught black studies at Temple University in Philadelphia and is currently launching an instructional, nonprofit group helping people develop the necessary techniques and tools to set up community organization within their neighborhoods.

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