In this presentation Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seal talks about the joint role he and Huey Newton played in forming the organization in 1966.
Seal’s genius as a grassroots organizer is what comes across most clearly in this talk. His initial vision in starting the Panthers was to use the 1965 Voting Rights Act to achieve “power” for African Americans by electing more black representatives to local, state and federal government. He maintains that monitoring police brutality and other tactics (like the children’s breakfast program) were merely a strategy towards this end.
Seal, who was employed in an Oakland jobs program for African American youth, recruited Huey (who had just started law school) because of his knowledge of the law. As brilliantly portrayed in Marvin Peeples 1995 film Panther, Huey became notorious for quoting large sections of the US Constitution and California law to Oakland police.
Seal is somewhat critical of Peeple’s docudrama, largely because it omits important historical details. An example is the crowd reaction – of supreme importance to Seal as an organizer – to the first confrontation between the Panthers and the cops. Another is the Nixon tape (which Seal, impersonating Nixon’s voice, describes in detail) in which the former president orders FBI director J Edgar Hoover to destroy the Panthers.
Seal also has some fascinating comments at the end about the Koch brothers and catastrophic climate change.
The film has an extremely long introduction and Seal’s talk begins at 21:00.
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