Bobby Seale, cofounder with Huey Newton in 1966 of the Black Panther Party, was one of the original eight defendants in the Chicago Conspiracy Trial. Seale complained bitterly that he had been denied a right to the lawyer of his choice (Seale's attorney was hospitalized for surgery and Judge Hoffman refused his request for a continuance) and the right to represent himself. After several angry outbursts, Judge Hoffman ordered Seale bound and gagged. Finally, on November 5, 1969, the judge severed Seale's case from that of the other defendants.
Seale had been in Chicago for only forty-eight hours during Convention week and had participated in none of the advance planning. He came only as a last-minute fill-in for fellow Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver, who was forced to cancel his planned speaking engagement. Seale was most likely added as a defendant in the conspiracy case so that the government could use Seale's highly inflammatory speeches to taint the other conspirators in the eyes of the jury. Seale's speech in Grant Park included language such as, "If the police get in the way of our march, tangle with the blue-helmeted motherfuckers and kill them and send them to the morgue slab."
Seale was born in Texas, the son of a carpenter. Prior to his involvement in radical black politics, Seale worked a a jazz drummer, a sheet-metal mechanic, and as a comedian.
Seale now has his own Web page in which he describes himself as "the old cripple-footed revolutionary humanist." The Web page, entitled "From the Sixties...to the Future!," is about "getting to the future via the whole synthesis of the quantum, computer and DNA molecular revolutions, and within the cyberspace non-linear range." Visitors to Seale's Web site can also purchase books and videos or download some of Seale's favorite barbecue recipes.