Black Power Taking Shape in the Form of Activist Bobby Seale

Black Power Taking Shape in the Form of Activist Bobby Seale

UM-Flint News

In light of Black History Month, UM-Flint organized numerous events on campus to highlight the African-American community and celebrate their historic accomplishments. Political activist and co-founder of the Black Panther Party, Bobby Seale, was one of this month’s many celebrated individuals and was invited to campus to speak about his experiences.

During 1966, Seale estimated only 55 African-American individuals were in some kind of political office in the United States, compared to the approximate 500,000 positions available. Seale wanted to see more African-Americans holding seats, so he, along with Huey P. Newton, aimed to form a solution–that same year, the Black Panther Party was born.

The party originally started with around 13 to 14 people, according to Seale, initially spending weeks at a time educating themselves on all things having to do with politics, their rights and the laws of the state. After, they set out to patrol police officers on the streets of Oakland, California.

The party’s main goal was to protect black neighborhoods and defend the rights of their people. They walked together in a uniform of black berets and leather jackets while holding guns at their sides. The Black Panthers were strong, educated individuals who wanted to protect their peers in regards to police brutality.

Once word got out about the Panthers, other party branches started to sprout up all over the country. And after the assassination of  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, the Black Panthers wanted justice more than ever.

During a meet and greet on UM-Flint’s campus, Seale made the statement, “I want to know the content of your character. I don’t care if you’re white, black, blue, green, red, polka dot–what’s important is what’s in your heart, mind and soul.”

Seale is one of many inspiring individuals to highlight during Black History Month. His drive for helping others, being fearless in the face of challenges and making a difference no matter the consequence deserves recognition every day, no matter the month. In a time when combating police brutality wasn’t on society’s agenda, he risked his life not only for the sake of himself but for others.

Bringing activists like Seale to campus can encourage students to start movements of their own while also educating them on the past achievements of influential individuals in history. Not only during Black History Month should we celebrate these people, but make it a point to remember their efforts all year round.