By Kevin Dayhoff
Seale, who has long since renounced violence as a strategy for social change, helped found the Panthers in 1966. At the time, the organization was dedicated to defending African-Americans against perceived incidences of police brutality and providing a community-based network of self-help social services.
Seale left the Panthers in 1974 after his more militant views moderated. He subsequently endorsed a nonviolent strategy that centered upon providing community services to African Americans.
In the mid-1960s, a growing number of civil rights advocates were unhappy with the lack of progress in implementing integration and other civil rights reforms and many, especially young people, had begun to reject the non-violent tactics advocated by the traditional 1950s and early 1960s leaders in the civil rights movement.
After the death of Malcolm X, many of the younger African-Americans felt disenchanted and disenfranchised by the mainstream civil rights movement, and began to explore others ways to make themselves heard.
They adopted Malcolm's slogan, "Freedom by any means necessary," and began forming a network of Panther chapters throughout the country.
A McDaniel College news release reports that the Panthers developed into a militant Marxist revolutionary group that continued to gain popularity throughout the late 1960s. In 1968 membership increased from 400 members to 5,000 members and 45 chapters and branches. According to J. Edgar Hoover, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Panthers were the "No. 1 threat to the internal security of the nation."
Seale's lecture Tuesday is titled, "From the Sixties to the Future," and according to McDaniel College, he “will transport the audience back to a time when the activism of hundreds of thousands of protesters created cross-cultural coalitions, numerous community programs, and an unforgettable synergy of forces. Seale will share his thoughts on how we must reach for the future and understand how all civil-human rights issues today are interconnected, interdependent and interrelated with environmental problems, political issues, and global economics.”
At 6 p.m., Bobby Seale will autograph historical posters, books, and DVDs for sale. His presentation begins at 7 p.m.