Interview with Bobby Seale

How, how were your suspicions and, and fears of the FBI and other federal and local police forces changing in those years, in '68 and '69? How were you becoming more aware and were suspicious of them?


Actually through the year of '69 we had big purge in the Black Panther Party because we had grown by early '69 to 7-8,000 Black Panth--Black people in the Black Panther Party. And we had too many provocateur agents, you know, too many incidents and things where things were happening, you know, like a 42 dollar service station robbery in the Black Panther Party newspaper truck with bold Black one foot letters that says The Black Panther Black Community News Service, for 42 bucks and I'm bringing in 25,000 dollars a year to the Black Panther Party, every penny going into the treasurer of the Black Panther Party. "What do we need with 42 bucks?" you see. So this is a lot of provocateur agent activity that was going on, that, in effect, was an attempt on the part of the FBI to make us look bad in the eyes of, not only the public, but the Black community in particular. So we were very leery, and we began to kick people out. Even if people fool around and wouldn't pass some leaflets out. Kick them out. We got too many people in the organization, we didn't know what was happening, because sometimes we would have some people passing out leaflets and then you find a stack of them in a trash can somewhere. You know that kind of stuff. And who was in this area, so kick that person out of the party. Get rid of them. We were too big. In fact I think we reduced, by the end of that year, we reduced our membership by 50 percent.