Bobby Seale comes to campus

Black Panther co-founder tells about his life


Britni Petitt / Clarion

Bobby Seale speaks to the crowd about his experinces as a co-founder of the Black Panther Party.

Shia Aaron L. Fisher, Staff Writer

“I am a first-class citizen…in my heart and in my mind,” said Bobby Seale to a packed auditorium during a Madison College Talks event. On Tuesday, Feb. 25, the Mitby Theater at Madison College’s Truax Campus was near capacity as Black Panther Party Co-Founder, Bobby Seale, opened about his life.

“Madison College is thankful for our partnerships; with the collaboration of area organization we are able to bring high quality programming to our faculty staff and students also the surrounding community,” announced Kewiana Pollard, president of the Black Student Union at Madison College.

Pollard introduced the lineup thanking the supporters of the event naming: The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the City of Madison Department of Civil Rights, Tammara D. Grisby Office of Equity Inclusion Office of Dane County and the Black Women Affinity Group.

The opening entrainment captured a movement and a time with covers from songs originally performed by James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. The diverse audience made up of college students and members of the community was then asked to sing along to the Hymnal “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” colloquially known as “The Black National Anthem.”

“The Black Panther Party had a 10-point program, many of those points are still very relevant today: education, employment, housing, relief from police brutality and justice, just to name a few,” said Madison College President, Dr. Jack Daniels, III.

Further opening remarks were made by Dr. Daniels which underscores the importance of having Madison College Talks. He then welcomed Bobby Seale to the stage. Seale was the co-founder of the Black Panthers Party. Seale shared with the audience some account of the party and the formation.

Seale’s talk consisted of broad sweeps from his own life touching on the value of leadership, education, dialect and reasoning. Seale’s story telling method was constructed with humorous moments and small details that Seale used to explain his own perspective as well the historical relevance.

He explained his natural curiosity from a young age that motivated him, later in life, to gather all the information possible in order to utilize it when necessary. His experiences later in life, fighting for the rights of blacks, caused legal challenges.

Seale explained how he was able to write his book from jail in two months after his lawyer made arguments of a public prosecution in the media. With the judge’s rule in Seale’s favor, the press gained access for interviews. Seale was able to write his book Seize The Time.

“We did that book, me talking into a tape recorder, and [he] would take the tape, and take it to the Black Panther Party headquarters office…and that’s the way that book got written in a two-month period.”

“When you’re put into situation when you are enslaved….and you’re forced in oppressive cultural way to learn this language…it wasn’t that we were inferior, we were denied formal access to the formal education for entire generations,” Seale concluded, making arguments for access to housing and education.

The next Madison College Talks event is scheduled for April 3, 2020 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. when Madison College Office of Equity, Inclusion and Community Engagement will be hosting Arno Michaelis author of “Wounds” and Pardeep Kaleka author “Serve 2 Unite.”