College of Liberal Arts

University of Mississippi

Founder of Black Panther Party to Discuss Activism in the 1960s and Today

Bobby Seale, co-founder and original chairman of the Black Panther Party, presents a comparison of the 1960s protest movement with today’s activism during a free, public lecture Thursday (Oct. 15, 2009) at the University of Mississippi.

Scheduled for 6 p.m. in the Gertrude C. Ford Ballroom at The Inn at Ole Miss, the event is being hosted by UM’s NAACP chapter as a part of its “Know Your History” series. Seale will discuss the history of the Black Panther Party and relate why he thinks Black Panther-style activism was appropriate during the 1960s but unnecessary today. The program is presented under the auspices of the University Lecture Series.

Robert Reece, a senior sociology major from Leland and president of the campus NAACP chapter, said that he hopes Seale’s lecture will help audience members gain a better understanding of the often misunderstood Black Panther Party.

“I think it is very important for all citizens to have a two-sided view of history that often isn’t taught in history class, and I hope that this series can give that type of two-sided perspective that would be so beneficial to the community,” Reece said.

As the keynote speaker for the series, Seale will discuss the evolution of his personal activism from his involvement with the Black Panthers to his current efforts to educate people about civil rights history as part of the mission of the Bobby Seale REACH Foundation.

The series consists of three sections: The Black Panther Party, School Integration/Re-Segregation and Black Popular Culture. Each section features a documentary, a panel discussion with university faculty and students, and a speaker.

Reece said he hopes that the series will make people – especially those in the African American community – aware of black history in a way that will prepare them to address current issues.

“In the black community, it is very important to have a strong grasp of black history because everyone talks about racism and ending racism, but a lot of people don’t even know what modern racism looks like,” Reece said. “At the conclusion of this series, it should be much easier for young black people to recognize instances of racism, because it is impossible to destroy something that you cannot recognize.”

Seale will be available after his lecture to autograph books and DVDs. Several titles will be on sale at the event, including his book “Seize the Time” (Black Classic Press, 1996), and “Public Enemy,” a 90-minute documentary film featuring Seale and others involved with the Black Panther Party.

The lecture is co-sponsored by Multicultural Affairs, the Department of African American Studies, Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation, Campus Programming, Assistant to the Chancellor for Multicultural Affairs and University Police Department, as well as the departments of Sociology, Public Policy Leadership, Political Science and History.

UM’s NAACP chapter has been inactive in the last few years, but they have recently been in touch with the national organization and hope to receive their official charter within the next few weeks.

For more information, call 662-915-7236. For assistance related to a disability, call 662-234-2331.