Tuesday, October 21, 2008

First Office and The Black Community News Service

In the first week of January 1967 Bobby Seale paid the rent and secured the first office of the Black Panther Party For Self Defense at 5624 Grove Street, two blocks from Seale's home at 809 57th Street and one block from Merritt College. The previous BPP headquarters operation was at Bobby Seale's home. PE, political education sessions were scheduled and held every Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday's at 2:00 p.m. complete with weapons safety. "Big Man" Elbert Howard and Bobby Seale, the only ones with formal military training, taught, with the assistance of Richard Aoki, the first several members, including Huey Newton, safety and how to shoot and, how to break down and reassemble all the several hand guns and rifle weapons accumulated by January 1967. Huey Newton taught legal aid and articulated constitutional rights surrounding the Ten Point Program. Bobby Seale articulated organizing methods and inspired the early membership with ideals of political electoral empowerment. Seale drafted the first application form, drew up a list of reading material: [which included ] Seale laid out the title heading of the newspaper: THE BLACK PANTHER, Black Community News Service. Seale and Big Man Elbert wrote and produced the first mimeograph issue of the BPP newspaper at Seale's NONSC office. [By mid 1969 with the distribution organizing of Sam Napier, the BPP "Black Community News Service" newspaper would have an on time, every Saturday, weekly publication-circulation of over two hundred thousand nation wide which the FBI's COINTELPRO attempted to destroy. Through the life of the BPP totaling more than three hundred weekly issues by the time of the complete demise of the BPP by the late seventies.]