The Pacifica Radio/UC Berkeley
Social Activism Sound Recording Project
The Black Panther Party

Bobby Seale, Free Huey Rally, February 1968


Transcribed from Pacifica Radio Archive BB 5471

The Chairman of the Black Panther Party, Brother Huey's right hand man, Bobby Seale, bring him on.


Brothers and Sisters I want to, tonight, have the chance to tell you in large mass something about Brother Huey P. Newton, A black man that I've been knowing for about 8 years; A black man who first introduced me to what black nationalism was all about; a black man that I have been closely associated with for the last three years, in the organizing of a Black People's Party on a level that dealt with black people's problems. To explain to you who Brother Huey Newton is in his soul, I got to explain to you also your soul, your needs, your political desires and needs, because that is Huey's soul.


You know, I met Huey, and he told me that he first learned how to read real good when he was about 16 or 17, was coming out of high school. One of these counselors in school told him that he couldn't be college material. So Huey got mad. He didn't like no white man telling him what he couldn't do. And Huey learned how to read. And Huey went to Oakland City College, and I went right there with him, and Huey got a 4.0--that's a A--in sociology, psychology, political science, law...he ran it on down, he got A's all the way through, and he said, "Later for the Man, I know what I can do."


Huey learned the need for black people to develop a perspective and a understanding of our oppressive conditions. Now, when we first organized the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Huey say, "Bobby," he says, "We gonna draw up a basic platform...just basic, that black people can read." He says, "We don't want to go real elaborate with all these essays, and disserations, and all this stuff, because a brother gonna look at that and he gonna say, 'Man, I ain't got time for that. I got to go see what I can do for myself.'" He says, "Just a basic platform that the mothers, who struggle hard to raise us, that the fathers, who worked hard, that the young brothers in school, who come out of school semi-illiterate, saying...reading broken words..." He say, "We just want a basic platform to outline black people's basic political desires and needs, first."

So we sit down. Huey say:

"We want freedom, we want power to determine the destiny of our black community.

Number 2: We want full employment for our people.

Number 3. We want housing fit...decent for human beings.

Number 4. We want all black men to be exempt from military service.


Number 5. We want decent education for our black people in our community that teaches us the true nature of this decadent, racist society, and that teach black people and our young black brothers and sisters their place in society...because if they don't know their place in society and in the world, they can't relate to anything else.

Number 6. We want an end to the robbery by the white racist business men of black people and black peoples in their community.

Number 7: We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of black people.


Number 8. We want all black men held in county, state, federal jails and prisons to be released because they have not had a fair trial, because they have been tried by all white juries, and that's just like being tried in Germany being a Jew.

We want black people...Number 9...when brought to trial to be tried by members of their peers--and a peer being one who comes from the same economic, social, religious, historical and racial background. That, in fact, the black people...if the United States government and the courts, and the local courts did this they would have to choose black people from the black community to sit up on the jury. They'd have to choose some of the mothers who have been working 20 years in Miss Anne's kitchen scrubbing floors like my mother done done. They'd have to choose some of them hard working fathers. They'd have to choose some of those brothers who stand on the block out there wondering where they gonna get a gig. They're gonna have to choose these black people.

And Number 10. Huey said: "Let's just summarize it: We want housing, we want clothing, we want education, we want justice, and we want peace."

This is the basic platform, in case you never knew it or not, of all the things that you've heard in the press, of all the derogatory statements that's been made in the press about Brother Huey P. Newton, and I...of all these derogatory statements is to guide you away from seeing this basic platform that Huey was talking about for his own people. We have to learn to look through the white press. We have to learn to see what's going on.

Now, out of this platform, Huey P. Newton realized that it was necessary for us to start working on these points, these ten points practically. Remember number seven: We want an immediate end to police brutality and murder of black people? This is very, very important. Huey did a year and a half in law school after he got out of Merritt College with an Associate of Arts degree in the social sciences. Huey articulated to brothers on the block, and he articulated in a way that they understood it, what their rights were in law, and how, in fact, we could exercise a position in the black community to begin to show black people how we could defend ourselves on point number seven.

Now, the papers call the organization hoodlums and thugs. I'm going to show you how smart Brother Huey is. He says, "Now the papers gonna call us thugs and hoodlums. A lot of people ain't going to know what's happening." He said, "But the brothers on the block who the Man been calling thugs and hoodlums for 400 years are going to say, 'Them's some outta sight thugs and hoodlums up there.'" The brother on the block is going to say, "Who IS these thugs and hoodlums? In fact, them dudes look just like me! In fact, I know George Dow. In fact, I know Bobby Hutton. Hey man! I know that dude over there! Hey man, what you cats doing with them rods?" In other words, when the Man called us "nigger" for 400 years, with all its derogatory connotations, Huey was smart enough to know that black people gonna say, "Well, they've been calling us 'niggers', 'thugs', and 'hoodlums' for 400 years, that ain't gonna hurt me, I'm gonna check out what these brothers is doing."


The insight that Huey had in knowing how to deal with organizing black people and knowing how to bring black people together. Now, at the same time, many of our older brothers and sisters will gonna say, "They must really be thugs and hoodlums." But, they talking about police brutality, and many of you have related in one way or another to relatives or members of your family, etcetera, to the conditions, and how police brutality [is?]. You would sit in your homes and say, "Yeah, we should have did it 400 years ago. We should have got out there and started defending ourselves in this fashion." Now, at the same time, many people get the notion that we were supposed to go out in the streets with 500 black people lined up with guns and shoot it out with 1,000 policeman. No, this wasn't the case at all. This wasn't the case at all. On the contrary, every black man in his home has the right to defend his home. It was necessary to bring to black people the understanding that they were going to have to stand in defense of life, of community, of your children, of your mothers, of our young... We have to defend ourselves, starting at point Number 7. Because we don't end self-defense there. Because Huey say you still have to defend yourself against the gross unemployment we subjected to, against the indecent housing we subjected to, against the indecent education that we getting Against the way black men are drafted off into the military service, after we fought in the Civil War--186 thousand--in World War I--350 thousand--in World War II--850 thousand--and all the way down to the Korean conflict, and now they got that jive Vietnam war, and they drafting our black brothers off the block over there, ninety miles an hour...Huey say, "Uh uh!" And they been promising us freedom for all these years... Huey said, "No..." That's a very, very important point.. [applause] Every black man in this house should be against the war in Vietnam, he's got to be against the war in Vietnam, because they killing our black brothers over there.

Huey brought it down to a practical level for us to try and understand. When Huey organized these brothers, he didn't just turn them out on the street with a zero understanding. Huey sit those brothers down and taught them 12 basic points of law and how to exercise their constitutional rights. Huey sit those brothers down and talked to them. Huey taught those brothers that wasn't a gun that was dangerous, it's the person behind it that's dangerous. [applause] That's very important. Huey taught the brothers safety of those weapons. You haven't heard of one Black Panther shooting another Black Panther. Accidently. But from the information, and one appearance in court with Charles Garey, the lawyer, he's saying that one cop down there shot the other cop, where Huey was. [applause]

Now look, the Black Panther Party for Self Defense is a revolutionary party. Revolution means that we got to get down to the nitty gritty and change the situation we in, and don't miss any nits or any grits. That's very, very important--all the time. We also struggle show you that it wasn't only the cops; we had to deal with many other things, like a street Market and 55th Street [Oakland]. Three kids coming from Washington School had been killed two years prior. We got with the poverty program, say, there gotta be a steet light here. And if they don't be a street light right out here, the Panthers gonna get right out here, and we gonna direct traffic. Well, they say, You'll tie up traffic." The traffic just gonna get tied up, our little kids ain't gonna get killed. [applause] We ...[shot a petition in?] in conjunction with members of the area there to the city council, and they sent something back talking about, "Well, we can't put one up until late 1968." Say, "No, we going to have to change this situation now [or] we going to the streets..." Well, the street light is up EARLY 1968, now... they don't like the Panthers messing with them, no kind of way, you dig? [applause]

I'm saying that these programs have to involve not only members of the Black Panther Party, they have to involve YOU, as a whole. That when the Black Panther Party for Self Defense starts coming to the black community and starts knocking on your doors, and starts leaving you literature and giving you information--factual information on this racist, decadent system--and running it down..when the Black Panther Party comes to your doors and leaves information concerning the fact that our black brother Huey P. Newton is got to be set free, we want you to come down to the local defense fund committee for Huey and work and operate...if you want to work in the Black Panther Party you going to be doing the same thing, cause the Black Panther Party for Self Defense is also working in conjunction with the Huey P. Newton Defense Fund, it's all together. Every last one black person in here has got to stand up right now and say he's a member of the Defense Fund--the legal defense fund--for Huey P. Newton. I want to see how many black people going to stand up now. Let's free Huey!


I give you a hand. I'm gonna give you a hand. You the heroes! Huey's gonna call you the heroes! He's always gonna call you the heroes!

Black brothers and sisters. We going to have some unity here. We are going to have unity behind brother Huey P. Newton, because Huey was trying to unify us to solve all of our problems. Huey was for us. The Man has got Huey chained up. Watch where I point my finger. Did you see the building over there? Right in back, he's chained up in jail, right across the street. When we announce Huey's court date appearances, you be there for an hour or an hour and a half and show a standing support that we should have Huey P. Newton set free. Be there brothers and sisters, and tell your friends. And explain to black people what Huey P. Newton was doing with the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, what kind of organization it was. Let people know that it is necessary that we must unify on all levels. And all the areas of oppression, we must deal with them. That right here in the confines of racist America, racism must be stopped. When the Man walks up and says we were anti-white, I scratch my head, I say, "...what does he mean by that?" He says, "Well, I mean, you hate white people." I say, "Me? Hate a white person?" I say, "Wait a minute, man, let's back up a little bit. That's your game. That's the Ku Klux Klan's game." I say, "That is the Ku Klux Klan's game to hate me and murder me because of the color of my skin." I say, "I wouldn't murder a person or brutalize him because of the color of his skin." I say, "Yeah, we hate something, alright! We hate the oppression that we live in! We hate cops beating black people over the heads and murdering them. That's what we hate!"


If you got enough energy to sit down and hate a white person just because of the color of his skin, you wasting a lot of energy. You better take that same energy and put it in some motion out there, and start dealing with those oppressive conditions, and you going to find out just what you hate, and what you going to stop.


Black people, we are organizing to stop racism! You dig it!? When you stop racism, you stop brutality and murder of black people by the racist occupying army in our community. That's what we going to stop--what's being done to us. You dig it!? Can you dig the white power structure and its racist police force, and how they've escalated the situation? That before Watts there was 1,300 cops, now there's 6,000 cops patrolling black people. That in Oakland they had 350 cops just three and a half years ago, now they got 1000 cops patrolling black people. San Francisco's doubled its police force. And every area...major metropolis where black people live all across this country, they've doubled, tripled, and [quatripled?] their police force and equipped them with tanks, all kinds...unh, unh! We got to stop it, brother! Let's get together and unify.


Brother Huey was concerned about the nation and the survival of black people. That's why tonight, and your standing support, we are all going to be concerned about him. I saw a picture in the paper, where it sister had a sign says, "Come see about Huey." And so every court date, I want everybody in this house to come see about Huey at that court house, because we going to free him, free Huey. Come on, Free Huey! [leads crowd in chant]: Free Huey! Free Huey! Free Huey! Free Huey!

Now, before we go any further, there's some sisters here...there's a lot more things I want to say to you...maybe I should say a few more things to you. Maybe I should give some more information. Yeah, I feel inadequate not doing that. I do really feel inadequate not doing that. Yeah, let's get on down to the nitty gritty, like I said. [someone in crowd: "take your time..."] And I'm gonna get them grits, too, brother. Come on...and I'm with you.

Look, let' s go into a little detail. When a young black man comes out of any one of these high schools around here, he's not taught--now watch how this power structure is tricky-- one iota about the white man's law. Then he plasters on TV that we supposed to respect the law. Then some racist cop, who Brother Carmichael done hipped me to how the rascist cops have come into this situation up here, because he says, all down to the post offices, all down South, they got brochures announcing jobs for cops in Oakland, and San Francisco, and Los Angeles--all these racist pigs up here? See? And this same pig that comes from way down there, and also coming up with his other brothers who have been up here...getting together on the streets and walks up to a young black man and says, "Boy, or nigger, where you going?" And the cop either reaches for his billy club or reaches for his pistol, and the brother don't see no respect for him as a human being...what else can the brother do at that point but say, "Man, if you hit me with that club, I'm sorry, I ain't going for it." You see, look what happens here: the brother winds up busted. He gets put in jail. You read some junk in the paper. One occasion or the other...either he's killed or murdered...he allegedly was burglarizing something...which is a bunch of bunk. That's the way the cops cover up they story. Or, "He assaulted me," the cops say. And it's passed on. But we got to learn to see through what's happening out there. When we go to the courts, where this brother got busted... you walk up in municipal court--and I know a lot of y'all been out there--walk up in there, and you know what you see in that court? Ninety percent black people, and the other ones who ain't black are poor whites and our Mexican brothers.


You catch it? You catch it? These cops are not in Piedmont brutalizing and intimidating white people; they are not in the Berkeley hills brutalizing and intimidating white people. They are down in the black ghetto, where our communities are, where we have to have power to determine the destiny of our own community. Why shouldn't we our own police station, where we set up operations and organizations through the churches and everything else to choose our own policemen? Because when we choose our own policemen and we make the rule that that policeman have to live in our community, he ain't going to be brutalizing too much if he have to come home and sleep that night.

This is the teachings of the Minister of Defense of the Black Panther Party, Huey P. Newton. This is his teachings; they basic. And here, whether you know it or not, is where you start dealing with the Black revolution. When Huey says, "Every black man put a shotgun in your home"... Do you remember about the Smith family, and how the cops raided the home of the Smith family? Do you remember how a of his sons had a white friend who came down to a basement there, where they had a pool table. And he just walked in with the other young...with this black Smith family...and he had a white friend and walked down there, and some cops saw him go down there, so these cops all got together and radioed up some more cops and busted in the house. They said they thought it was prostitution. You know what they did? They walked in the house on a man, his wife, and his children...brutalized and beat the whole family up, from child to mother to father...broken arms, crushed skulls. And then the cops turn around and charge the unarmed family with assault on a police officer. What kind of crap is that?

That's why a black man needs a shot gun in his home. It's very important. You understand what I'm talking about? This is very, very important for us to recognize. That once...[applause] When we organize in that fashion, right there in our homes, we talking about power in our communities, to control our communities, you know? And once we let the Man know, say, "Look, we armed from block to block, and we going to patrol you from our our windows. And we not going to have you brutalizing none of our people in the streets. Do you realize what kind of power black people have then? Cause you begin to neutralize that police force, because them cops going to start riding shakey and scared. In fact we in a position then...[recording skip] to ask them to withdraw from our community, because they occupy our community just like a foreign troop occupies territory. It's very important to understand.

This is the political teachings of Brother Huey. And you see how basic it is? It's not hard to understand at all. Every time the power structure makes a political decision upon any group of people, if the people disagree with the political decision that the power structure has made upon them, then the power structure gets guns, and force, and billy clubs, and starts doubling and tripling police force and national guards, to make you accept those political decisions that's made when you try to disagree. The Vietnamese have had political decisions made upon them and their country and they've disagreed with them. So they said, "Naw, we going to defend ourselves right here on our land, and we want you to withdraw from our land." Now, all we got to do is parallel...we can parallel the situation. When we see all these racist cops off in our black community the way they are.

But remember, that's only point seven of the program. But here is the key in terms of dealing with what real power is. Power starts here. When people try to say that Green Power is where it is at, let me hip you to a little something that brother Huey P. Newton knew. He said, during the Civil War there was the North and there was the South. The North had yankee money--green power, supposedly--and the South had confederate money--green power on that end, supposedly. He said, but when the North out-maneuvered the South, and the North had all the guns, they said, "Your money ain't no more good; you don't even have no so-called green power." [applause] So, I'm saying, that the money is only a tool by which you manipulate the power...that's all. The real power is manifested in the police forces, the national guardsmens, these racists who come down to occupy black people in the community, to maintain their oppression, to try to make us stoop. But we in our homes, and I'm saying every black brother in this house, every last one of you, put a shot gun in your home. Put a shot gun in your home. It's necessary.

We will begin to deal in politics that way. Because Huey also says that politics is war without bloodshed, but war is politics with bloodshed. Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty here and see what's happening here. A contradiction between a group of people--or might we say contradictions, disagreements, etcetera--you have two kinds of contradictions: antagonistic contradictions, where there's fighting and where's there's bloodshd, and you have non-antagonistic contradictions, where there's arguing and debating. Now, I' m pretty sure that black people would prefer to have, in dealing with politics, non-antagonistic contradictions. But what's happened here? When the Man escalates his police forces and doubles and triples them, and murdering black people in their community, and shooting them down, that ain't non-antagonistic. That's very antagonistic, because he's shedding our blood. He has made war upon us. This is very, very important to understand where politics lies. We desire, by defending ourselves and our community by every man putting a shotgun in his home, we desire non-antagonistic contradictions. But we must defend ourselves. So when those cops come in the community...[tape skip] [the] first law is the law of survival. This is where it's at. We must organize. We must respect the gun in the fashion that it's the man behind the gun who's dangerous. And there are thousands and thousands of cops in this country who are very very dangerous towards the black community.


So, let's come to the surface and think. Let's come up to the surface of the whole situation. Black people in this country, war has been made upon them. Black people, don't sit down and say, "Oh, nothing's going to happen," and hope nothing's going to happen. Don't sit down and let a spontaneous riot happen in the streets, where we get corralled, and lot of us get shot up, unorganized, when I say spontaneous. Black people, organize! And black leaders, you got them up here. I'm only trying to contribute to the leadership. I was forced out here, and it's necessary for me to do it, and I'm going to do my job. I'm saying that black leaders will get up and let the political power structure know where it's and the changes we want, and that if that doesn't happen, then YOU will cause the political consequence in an organized fashion. The Man doesn't have us outnumbered, he has us out-organized. Common now! Come up to the surface.


Now let's go back to our brother Huey, concerning his situation. I'm going to ask you brothers and sisters now, we have sisters in the audience. Alright, brothers and sisters, I want to say this here: Free Huey and Black Power...Black Power, and you are the power, the Black Power, to Free Huey. So let's stand together, let's Free Huey. I want to thank you.


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