October 22 is Robert George Seale (aka Bobby Seale) birthday. He is a political activist and author famously known for co-founding the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, which its main practice was monitoring police activities and challenging police brutality in Black communities, first in Oakland, California, and later in cities throughout the United States.
Seale was one of the Chicago Eight charged by the US federal government with conspiracy charges related to anti-Vietnam War protests in Chicago, Illinois, during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. In that trial, Seale was infamously ordered by the judge, Julius Hoffman, to appear in court bound and gagged.
He is a hero to all black people, dedicating his life to free black people from systemic injustice and discrimination. The Black Panther Party, which he founded with fellow Huey P. Newton, instituted the Free Breakfast for Children Programs to address food injustice, and community health clinics for education and treatment of diseases including sickle cell anemia, tuberculosis, and later HIV/AIDS. It advocated for class struggle, with the party representing the proletarian vanguard.
Scholars have characterized the Black Panther Party as the most influential black movement organization of the late 1960s, and “the strongest link between the domestic Black Liberation Struggle and global opponents of American imperialism”.
Since 2013, Seale has been seeking to produce a screenplay he wrote based on his autobiography, Seize the Time: The Eighth Defendant. Seale co-authored Power to the People: The World of the Black Panthers, a 2016 book with photographer Stephen Shames.
In 2020, Seale was portrayed by Yahya Abdul-Mateen II in Aaron Sorkin’s film, The Trial of the Chicago 7. In 2021, Seale is mentioned in the movie Judas and the Black Messiah by a policeman commenting on a drawing of him tied up at the trial.
Happy birthday Bobby. May we reach the goals you’re fighting for.