Civil rights leader draws more than 400

By Ross Bogue

A diverse crowd of more than 400 students, faculty and members of the community came to witness a prominent figure from the civil rights movement last night in the Student Center Grand Ballroom.

Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, spoke of the important events in his life that led him to the day he and Huey P. Newton began the organization in 1966.

The Black Panther Party was known for fighting for black rights, speaking out against police brutality and other injustices while also promoting self defense.

Seale, who originally went to school to become an engineer, was known as the sole member who organized 5,000 members in 49 different chapters and branches throughout the country while Newton served time in prison.

Seale spent most of the night telling the energetic crowd about the people, places and events that helped him along the way to becoming a civil rights leader focused on giving power back to the people.

After Malcolm X was killed, Seale said he knew he had to do something to unify the people around him.

“When I began thinking about starting the Black Panther Party, I did not want to propagate mythical misrepresentation,” he said. “I wanted have a more profound revolution disregarding color.”

Although the Black Panther Party is his most notable accomplishment, Seale is also known for his public service, something he made sure to emphasize in his speech.

Seale created many programs designed to help people in his community, such as the Free Breakfast for Children Program, free clinics and free grocery giveaways.

Most of the members in the audience found it hard to believe that Seale and Newton made such a huge difference.

“I couldn’t believe that an engineer from Oakland started such a revolutionary change,” said Polly Radford, a journalism junior.

The event, titled “An evening with Bobby Seale,” was sponsored by the Martin Luther King Jr. Cultural Center.

Seale is currently helping with an HBO series about the Black Panther Party. Director Steven Spielberg is also working on a movie about the Trial of the Chicago 8, in which actor Will Smith may play Seale.

Seale left the audience last night with his vision of what needs to be done in helping humanity.

“We must give power back to the people and make the future cooperation of humanism,” he said. “All power to the people.”