Bobby Seale was born in Liberty, Texas, the eldest of three children. After moving around to a few cities in Texas, his family finally settled in Oakland, California when Bobby was eight years old. After a stint in the Air Force, Seale attended Merritt College where he joined the Afro-American Association, a student organization dedicated to advocating for black separatism. Through that organization, Seale met Huey Newton. Together, inspired by Malcolm X, they founded the Black Panther Party for Self Defense (BPP). Seale served as the Chairman while Newton served as the Minister of Defense.
In the early years of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale was repeatedly arrested and tried on multiple charges. He was a part of the Chicago Eight and the New Haven Black Panther trials. He was also suspected of murdering a fellow Panther who allegedly impregnated his wife while Seale was in jail but no charges were brought. After his final release, the BPP wanted to clean up their image and announced the implementation of a breakfast program which served many cities. Seale ran for mayor of Oakland, CA in 1973 and, even though he lost, he received the second most votes out of nine candidates.
After the destruction of the Black Panther Party, Seale taught black studies at Temple University in Philadelphia. He moved back to Oakland in 2002 to help young activists influence social change. He speaks at colleges worldwide regarding his experiences as a Black Panther and gives advices regarding community organizing and social justice.
Records at the National Archives relating to Bobby Seale include the case file where he was indicted as a member of the Chicago Eight for inciting riots during the Democtatic National Convention in 1968, FBI case files investigating his activities as a Black Panter, and Nixon White House tapes where he is mentioned in conversation.
Rediscovering Black History: Black Panther: a News Reel Video
Criminal Case Files, 1873-1991 National Archives Identifier 624785
Please use the Find function in your browser to search for 'Bobby Seale'
Motion Picture Films and Video Recordings, ca. 1936- ca. 1985 National Archives Identifier: 12073
White House Telephone Recordings, 1971-1973 National Archives Identifier: 17412458
Online Audio Recordings - Tape 46 Conversations
|White House telephone tape number 46 ( NAID 7450089)|