Interview with Bobby Seale

Okay, I'm trying to put the Panthers in some sort of line with other struggles for, for, for Black freedom. Where did this philosophy of the Panthers come from? How were you influenced by Malcolm X, we were talking about Martin, and Elijah Muhammad?


Huey and I had been involved for some time, off and on, studying Black history, what have you, what Malcolm had done, where Martin Luther King come from, I was highly influenced by Martin Luther King at first and then later Malcolm X. Largely the Black Panther Party come out of a lot of readings, Huey and I putting scrutiny to everything going on in the United States of America. Like we must have subscribed to 20 some odd different periodicals, offbeat periodicals like the Liberator, Freedom Ways, what have you, even some periodicals out of Africa. Well we had read and digested Frantz Fanon's _The Wretched of the Earth_. I mean we knew Lerone Bennett's _Before the Mayflower_. I knew about the 250 slave revolts that included Gabriel Prosser and Nat Turner and Denmark Vesey. I mean, I, Frederick Douglass, everything, the Nation of Islam, what had happened in the 1930's, what have you and so on. And there we were with all this knowledge about our history, our struggle against racism and when we started the Black Panther Party it was more or less based on where Malcolm was coming from, where our struggle was, an argument about the Civil Rights Movement not learning to own property, and then Stokely Carmichael in 1965, '66 talking about Black Power, and we thought we needed a functional definition of just the word "power" alone. And we felt that if we defined the phenomenon of a city government framework or institution of government as racist in terms of the institutional racism that we understood from studying that history then it's high time we made that institutionalized political function act in a desired manner. And how do we go about that. So, we had to organize political electoral power we thought, so. This is where we were coming from.