Saturday, November 25, 2006

Great African Americans

Bobby Seale (born October 22, 1936) is an American civil rights activist, who along with Huey P. Newton co-founded the Black Panther Party in 1966.
Seale joined the African American Association in college and this is said to have inspired him to start the Black Panthers, which at one point had over 2000 members. Seale went on to become the chairman of the party and underwent FBI surveillance as part of its COINTELPRO program. He was one of the original Chicago Eight defendants charged with conspiracy and inciting to riot, in the wake of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, in Chicago. Judge Julius Hoffman sentenced him to four years of imprisonment for contempt of court because of his outbursts, and eventually ordered Seale severed from the case, hence the "Chicago Seven." During one of the court trials Bobby Seale's many outbursts led the judge to have him bound and gagged, as commemorated in the song Chicago written by Graham Nash.
Seale was also tried in 1970 in the New Haven Black Panther trials for the murder of Alex Rackley and acquitted by a hung jury. The trials were widely decried as an example of political repression by such relative moderates as Yale University president Kingman Brewster, Jr., and were accompanied by a large demonstration in New Haven, Connecticut, on May Day, 1970, which coincided with the beginning of the US college student strike of May, 1970.
In 2002, he began dedicating his time to Reach!, a group that focuses on youth education programs.
Today Bobby Seale is popularly known for marketing a line of barbecue products.

No comments: