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Black Panther co-founder Bobby Seale to speak tonight

In honor of Black History Month, Indiana University Northwest had scheduled Afeni Shakur to headline this evening's program, however due to unforeseen circumstances; Shakur will be unable to make the trip to northwest Indiana this evening. In a written statement received from Shakur, she states “I am very sorry that I cannot be here with you tonight, but mechanical problems with the plane have prevented me from being there on time for the event.”

The celebration will go on as scheduled and IU Northwest is extremely pleased to be able to bring Bobby Seale, chairman and co-founder of the Black Panther Party, to be the keynote speaker tonight, Thurs., Feb. 23 from 7-10 pm at Tamarack Hall Theatre.   Now a self-described "revolutionary humanist” Seale and his wife Leslie, bring the 60's protest movement era full circle showing how times have changed. How we must reach for the future: Protest, organize peoples programs, and evolve a profoundly progressive society with greater direct [participatory] community control democracy: Void of racist, bigoted or chauvinistic practices.

Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. and moved to action by the killing of Malcolm X, Seale, along with Huey Newton, organized the Black Panther Party in 1966 to guard against police brutality in black neighborhoods and provide social services. Eventually the party developed into a militant Marxist revolutionary group with thousands of members in several major cities. According to J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Black Panther Party had become "the No. 1 threat to the internal security of the nation." Fearful of the growing popularity of the Black Panthers and their insistence that Black Power grows out of the barrel of a gun, Hoover ordered the FBI to employ "hard-hitting counterintelligence measures to cripple the Black Panthers" in November 1968.

In 1969, Seale, as one of the "Chicago Eight," was charged with conspiracy to incite riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Charges against him were eventually dropped, but not before he had been bound and gagged to silence his courtroom outbursts, for which he was found guilty and sentenced to four years in prison for 16 counts of contempt of court. While in prison Seale was charged with murdering Alex Rackley, a former Black Panther suspected of being a police informant. In May 1971, the trial ended in a hung jury and the judge ordered all charges against Seale to be dropped.

After being released from prison in 1972, Seale renounced political violence and concentrated on conventional politics. In 1973 Seale ran for mayor of Oakland and came second out of nine.

Over the last twenty-five years Seale has worked on a variety of community projects and continues to develop and support organizations dedicated to combating social and political injustices. He still lectures about his past and current experiences struggling for civil rights for African Americans and has published several books including Seize the Time (1970), an autobiography, A Lonely Rage (1978) and Barbeque'n with Bobby (1987).

As part of the IU Northwest Diversity Programming Series, this event is co-sponsored by the Department of Minority Studies, Student Activities Board, and Black Student Union. For questions or more information regarding this event please contact Dr. Earl Jones, Department of Minority Studies, at 219-980-6704 or email




Media Contact:

Michelle Searer

Program Contact:

Earl Jones
Minority Studies

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