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Former Black Panther leader to speak

Bobby Seale, founding chairman and national organizer of the Black Panther Party from 1966 to 1974, will speak at 7 p.m. Monday in Packard Auditorium. His talk, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Black Student Union (BSU), the Political Science department, Africana Studies, the Humanities Center, American Studies, the Progressive Student Alliance (PSU), Student Senate, Library and Technology Services, Joint Multicultural Programs, and the Visiting Lecturers Committee.

Seale’s talk will focus on the history of the Black Panther Party; human, constitutional and democratic rights for all people; and how people can use how life was in the 1960s to help make a change in lifestyles today.

“We picked Bobby Seale because he is an important figure in the black community who is still alive and outlived an assassination,” says Calvin Smiley ’08 who is a political science major and political chairperson for Lehigh’s Black Student Union. “It is important to see this great man and to find out the truth about what the Black Panthers were about and to clear up any misconceptions of the Black Power Movement.”

Adds Sonya James ’08 a computer science and business major, “Mr. Seale’s speech on ‘From the ‘60s to the future’ will open up people’s eyes, make them see how far we have come, and show ways we can try and make a change for the better for all races.”

Seale co-founded the Black Panther Party in 1966 and was one of the original Chicago Eight in the 1968 Chicago Conspiracy Trial. Seale—along with Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines and Lee Weiner—was charged with conspiracy, inciting to riot, and other charges related to violent protests in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Early in the course of the trial, Seale was sentenced to four years of imprisonment for contempt of court because of his outbursts and was eventually severed from the case. The Chicago Eight then went down in history as the Chicago Seven.

--Sarah Cooke

Posted on Thursday, September 22, 2005

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