Interview with Bobby Seale

Okay, how did you come up with the symbol and the name Black Panther. How did you come up with the name Black Panther?


Actually we had written the Ten-Point Platform and Program of the organization but yet didn't have a name. A couple of days later, Huey Newton and I was trying to figure out why was that on a Lowndes County Freedom Organization, it was Lowndes County, Mississippi, a pamphlet that we had, why they had this charging Black panther as logo. And, Huey come up with some notion that if you drive a panther into a corner, if he can't go left and he can't go right, then he will tend to come out of that corner to wipe out or stop its aggressor. So, I said, "That's just like Black people. All the Civil Rights people are getting brutalized across this country for exercising the First Amendment of the Constitution which is the law of the land, they can't go left. Other people have tried to control the police with law books and tape recorders and have been brutalized. They can't go right. Even the young Whites who were protesting," I said, "Who was in support of the Black people, can't go left, can't go right. So we just like the Black panthers and in effect Huey P. Newton and I named the organization the Black Panther Party. But at first it was the Black Panther Party for Self Defense. Later, we dropped the self defense aspect because we didn't want to be classified as a paramilitary organization.