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DSU kicks off Black History Month with talk by Black Panthers co-founder

Annie Ropeik/Delaware Public Media
Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale speaks at Delaware State University as students, faculty and staff listen on.

Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale told a packed room at Delaware State University Thursday how he became a civil rights activist.

Seale's talk drew hundreds of students, faculty and staff interested in what the Panthers can teach today's Black Lives Matter movement. It kicks off Black History Month at the historically black Dover school.

Seale said it was the Panthers' political grassroots work that drew the ire of the white establishment in the late 1960s -- not a fear of violence.

"The power structure says no -- they're gonna stop us. And it couldn't have been just because we had a few shotguns and pistols to defend ourselves," he said. "That's not what revolution is about."

He said he wants the Panthers to be remembered for their community work -- getting black politicians on ballots, and service programs that shed light on socioeconomic and racial inequalities.


"It wasn't about violence and nonviolence in that context. Re-evolving your political, economic and social justice power in the hands of the people is the revolution," Seale said. "A firefight, or defending yourself from some police -- it's a firefight defending yourself, you see what I mean?"

Seale noted that Martin Luther King, Jr. was the man who inspired him to become an activist. His talk was part of a Black Panthers symposium at DSU this week.

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