The #Black Panthers
By 1966, Seale and Newton were ready to organize their beliefs, and they formed the Black Panthers (later renamed the Black Panther Party). Originally created as an armed force protecting the black community from the notoriously racist Oakland police, the Panthers’ reputation grew and with it the scope of the organization itself. The Panthers became a new voice in the Civil Rights Movement, and they rejected outright the mainstream movement’s nonviolent approach as well as the “Back to Africa” teachings put forth by the more radical Black Nationalists.
The Panthers focused much of their energies on community outreach, and the California movement spawned chapters across the nation. By 1968, Seale decided that a public account of the formation and history of the Panthers was needed, so he wrote Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton (published in 1970). That same year, Seale was arrested while protesting at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He and seven other defendants, thereafter known as the Chicago Seven, were tried for conspiracy to incite riots in a circus-like atmosphere that resulted in Seale being sentenced to four years in prison for contempt of court . Seale was also tried during this period for the murder of a fellow Panther suspected of being a police informant. The trial ended with a hung jury.