Interview with Bobby Seale
QUESTION 5
INTERVIEWER:

Okay, now the decision to go to Sacramento.

BOBBY SEALE:

Well, we had only hit the press three or four times so far as the print media. And, ah, what we had heard is that the Police Department had went to our local congressman to get a bill written that was going to hit the newspaper. So Huey called me up and says, we have to go to Sacramento. It was conceived as a media event that the press is always at the California State Capital, so that we got up there and read a statement in opposition to what the California Legislature was doing with respect to us trying to exercise our rights to, you know, to deal with police brutality in our Black community. Then of course the press would carry, at least our side, would carry it and of course hopefully to give more people to join the Black Panther Party. But in effect, ah, well even when we arrived, this is what the real, we arrived there, all these Black men and women, 24 males and 6 females with guns and Ronald Reagan, then the Governor, was on the lawn with 200 and, future leaders of America, you know 12, and 13, and 14 year-old kids. And these kids are leaving his session on the lawn and coming to see us. And these young White kids thought we were a gun club.**. You know, "Hey, neat 30.06 you got there." Well, the media followed these kids because they were there. And asked, "Aren't you the Black Panthers." "Yes." And I began to read a statement and of course the press later let us inside and I was trying to get to the spectator section but we wound up on the floor of the California State Legislature while they dealing with the bill.

INTERVIEWER:

Wait a second, that's a rollout.




BOBBY SEALE:

Um, the Black Panther Party, and me in particular, and the group that was with me, we were branded as hoodlums invading the capital. Ah, in fact, after I read the message once I wanted to go inside to the spectator section so when we got in the hall, just imagine, there's a hundred press people, cameras, still cameras, print media people backing up. And I'm saying, "Where's the spectator section." And the press says "This way, Bobby." In effect, they led me on the wrong floor and we wound up down on the floor. Some party members got ahead of me with shot guns, pistols, and wound up on the actual floor of the California State Legislature. And the press is not even supposed to go in there. And they followed them in, taking pictures of Panthers with guns on the floor. I had to get the party members out of there. I says, "Come on, we're in the wrong place," because I was really looking for the spectator section. So we come out. And not until we left the capitol, two blocks away when we stopped in a service station to get gas and what have you, did we all get busted. Because in effect what we did at the capital was not anything. Later we were charged with disturbing the peace of the assembly, which is a misdemeanor and I wound up in six months at jail for it.