Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale and radio talk-show host Reggie Bryant discussed the condition of unity and diversity in the wake of Sept. 11 during “Unity Day,” a Temple sponsored event held Monday, Feb. 11.
Seale, along with Huey P. Newton, started the party with a 10-point program that addressed the grievances and demands of the Black community in October 1966. The program demanded freedom, housing, employment and education.
“Black unity through community is what we always said. Black unity as a catalyst to humanize the world,” said Seale.
While the party was centered on nonviolence, Seale admitted to the occasional use of unorthodox tactics to get their message across.
He said, “Huey said we have to do something to capture the people’s imagination.”
Seale went on to explain some of the history behind one of the African American community’s most recognizable unifying organizations.
The Black Panther Party promoted social programs against the suppressed Black community. Seale said that before Martin Luther King, Jr.’s murder, the party had 400 members. A few months after King’s assassination, the membership swelled to 5,000.
“It grew by leaps and bounds,” he said.
The party became a target of the FBI, mainly for their militant views and for openly carrying permitted weapons.
Seale said that of all the 7,500 felony charges brought against its members, 95 percent were won.
“[The FBI was] trying to terrorize us out of existence,” he said.
As for Seale’s partner on the panel, Bryant has a show on WHAT 1340 AM that discusses African American topics. He has criticized everyone from President George W. Bush to the fire fighters and police officers who died during the Sept. 11 attack.
Bryant said that an egregious crime was committed on Sept. 11, adding that Americans are “muppets” who “get their information from the cool fire that burns in nearly every room in the house, never once questioning what is [being] broadcast.”
He also took the opportunity to take a shot at the president, saying he “could not lead you effectively and efficiently to his bathroom.”
Bryant said on Sept. 11, firefighters and police officers had to respond not because they wanted to save lives, but because they would lose their jobs if they didn’t.
“This country is desperate for heroes,” he said. “It makes up for real integrity.”