Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Leslie M. Johnson-Seale
Leslie M. Johnson-Seale was born in April of 1949. A Baby Boomer. Leslie joined the Black Panther Party [BPP] in June 1969, after receiving a transfer from her job with the Philadelphia Urban League to the San Francisco/Bay Area Urban League. Leslie became actively involved with The BPP from the very first day she arrived in Oakland, California. She was a grass roots organizer out of the Black Panther Party's Central Headquarters in Berkeley CA. She was later assigned to the North Richmond CA. BPP branch's poor & low income community.
As all BPP branches & chapters in those days were attacked, arrested, and threaten by the FBI's COINTELPRO [counter intelligence program] operations, and local police working with them, so was the N. Richmond BPP branch. To the then fascist FBI the BPP was a PUBLIC ENEMY.
Leslie and her party members faced the same die-hard racist power structure & terrorism that all BPP chapters faced. Many other chapters were literally attacked. It was the BPP 65% female membership who gave the BPP a necessary character with their programmatic organizing, leadership efforts and dedicated work. And in the face of it all, with their lives on the line, across the USA, they organized the Free Breakfast For School Children programs, Free Preventive Medical Health Care centers, sold the BPP weekly newspaper, registered black citizens to vote. Leslie and her party group basically unified that N. Richmond CA. poor & low income black community of twenty-five thousand people in opposition to the then overt but vicious, institutional political exploitation, bigotry, chauvinism and racism. Leslie Seale two years later became the Communications Secretary @ Black Panther Party's National Headquarters in Oakland CA. just before Bobby Seale was release from jail without bail: after two historical court room trials, two years a political prisoner, and the BPP ultimately won over the years ninety-five percent [95%] of all court battles. Thanks to Roy Wilkins of the NAACP, William Kunstler, Charles Garry, Jerry Leftcourt, Leon Friedman and many other civil-rights attorneys of the sixties.
Leslie M. Johnson and Bobby Seale hooked up [married sixties style] and have been together every since. Like all the other thousands of former BPP members [whom they are largely networked with to this day] they have families, raised their children and sent them to college. Leslie & Bobby have worked continually in various programs, from Capitol Hill in Washington DC to radio programs in Denver, Colorado and several programs in Philadelphia to educate and change things, while also Speaking Across America for the generations following them. With her open very dynamic, yet kind hearted personality many today wonder how was it that she became a member of the BPP? A rough and tumble confrontational "take-no-crap" from the racist "pig" power structure organization? It was and is the progressive content of the character of so many brothers, and especially sisters like Leslie which gave the BPP profoundness and keep the BPP ideology, always "in-motion" and never stagnant.