Interview with Bobby Seale
QUESTION 1
INTERVIEWER:

BOBBY SEALE:

--problem was actually police brutality that had been sparking numerous riots in 1966, even prior to that in 1965, the Watts Riot had vicious acts of police brutality. Huey P. Newton and I were working with the North Oakland Neighborhood Service Center under the city government and Stokely Carmichael--

INTERVIEWER:

I'm sorry, stop.


BOBBY SEALE:

Black Panther Party, 1966, when Huey and I founded that organization, that particular year numerous acts of police brutality had sparked a lot of spontaneous riots, something that Huey and I were against, these spontaneous riots. Even a year earlier, in 1965 in Watts you know 65 people were killed, 200 wounded, 5,000 arrested. And Huey and I began to try to figure out how could we organize 5,000 youthful Black folks into some kind of political-electoral power movement. Stokely Carmichael was on the scene with Black Power. We were questioning, Huey and I, about the need for a functional definition of power and we came up with this, "That power is the ability to define phenomenon then in turn make it act in a desired manner." Well the phenomenon of racism structured in the city council at that time, ah, Huey and I working with the North Oakland Neighborhood Service Center and the advisory board we got 5,000 signatures for them to go to the city council, to get the city council to try to set up a police review board to deal with complaints of police brutality. Well, the city council ignored us. So that phenomenon was that the city council was just a racist structure which could care less about the 48 percent Black and Chicano people who lived in the city of Oakland. So there we are trying to figure out what to do. We finally concluded through those months that we had to start a new organization. And we sit down and then began to write out this ten-point platform and program in the North Oakland Neighborhood Service Center in North Oakland, California, in the community where Huey and I lived. And we wrote out this program. We want power to determine our own destiny in our own Black community. Alluding to the needs, we organized political electoral power, full employment, decent housing, decent education to tell us about our true selves, not to have to fight in Vietnam, immediate end to police brutality and murder of Black people was point number 7. The right to have juries of our peers in the courts, what have you. We summed it up. We wanted land, bread, housing, education, clothing, justice and peace.**. And, ah, in the tail end we stuck in two famous paragraphs. When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to separate themselves from the political bondage--that was the emphasis, the political bondage--which has connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of earth the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature, nature's God entitled them. I mean this was the kind of summarization we gave to our meeting. And we summarized that Ten-Point Platform Program, flipped a coin to see who would be Chairman. I won Chairman and we created the Black Panther Party.