Friday, January 04, 2013

Controversial Black Panther Founder Bobby Seale To Be Keynote Speaker At IUPUI King Day Dinner

Bobby Seale
The highly controversial co-founder of the Black Panther Party will be the keynote speaker for this year's IUPUI King Day Dinner at the Roof Ballroom on Sunday, January 20, 2013. Bobby Seale is infamously known as one of the original "Chicago Eight" who were tried for inciting riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Although the evidence  against Seale was slim, he was sentenced to four years in prison for contempt during the trial after repeated outbursts. A federal judge ordered him bound and gagged at one point during the trial following an outburst. While serving his four-year prison sentence, he was put on trial for his alleged role in the murder of fellow Panther, Alex Rackley, who was brutally murdered after Panther leaders suspected him of being a police informant. The leader of the murder plot testified at trial that Seale had ordered Rackley's killing. A jury was unable to reach a verdict on Seale's guilt and he was released from prison in 1972. While in prison, Seale's wife was impregnated by another Panther member, Fred Bennett. Bennett's mutilated body was later discovered. Police suspected Seale had ordered Bennett's murder but no charges were ever filed in the case.

A press release announcing Seale's keynote speaking role at this year's King Day Dinner describes Seale as a "revolutionary humanist" despite the violence often associated with the Black Panther Party under the leadership of Seale and its other co-founder, Huey Newton, in sharp contrast with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s non-violent approach for advancing social justice for black Americans.
“For the past 43 years, the IUPUI Black Student Union has sponsored the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Dinner, one of the largest events on IUPUI’s campus," said Meaghan Banks, president of the IUPUI Black Student Union. "This year, we will continue that tradition, and we invite the Indianapolis community to join us for an evening of empowerment and celebration in honor of Dr. King’s life and legacy.” The theme of this year's dinner is "To live as brothers or perish as fools." King actually sharply differed with the Black Panther Party's advocacy of separatism. King believed that "America must be made a nation in which its multi-racial people are partners in power", a view never shared by Seale's Black Panthers. The Black Panther's often-used slogan, "Black Power", was rejected by King as "a cry of pain . . . born from the wombs of dispair and disappointment." 

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