February 17, 2017

20,000 Vinyl LPs 79: Bobby Seale ~ Gagged & Chained

Bobby Seale ~ Gagged & Chained                                                                           
vinyl LP front cover detail                                                                       
front cover detail photo by Styrous®                                                                                            

This is Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month, in America for remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. it is an annual observance in the United States and Canada in February,

I feel this album best honors the black struggle in history as well as reflects what is happening right now, today.  

Bobby Seale ~ Gagged & Chained
vinyl LP front cover
 cover design by Bill Tucker
photo of front cover by Styrous®

Judge Julius Hoffman ordered “Chicago Eight” defendant Bobby Seale gagged and chained to his chair during his trial. Seale and his seven fellow defendants (David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, Thomas Hayden, Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Lee Weiner, and John Froines) had been charged with conspiracy to cross state lines with intent to cause a riot during the violent anti-war demonstrations in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.   

Hoffman gave the order to gag Seale after he repeatedly shouted accusations and insults at the judge and prosecution and disrupted the court proceedings. In November, Seale’s conduct forced the judge to try him separately. Seale was sentenced to 48 months in prison for 16 acts of contempt. Seale was then charged with killing a Black Panther Party informant in New Haven, Connecticut; the contempt charges were eventually dismissed and the murder trial ended with a hung jury.   

Bobby Seale ~ Gagged & Chained
vinyl LP back cover
 cover design by Bill Tucker
photo of back cover by Styrous®

Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton were heavily inspired by the teachings of human rights leader and activist Malcolm X, who was assassinated in 1965. The two joined together in October 1966 to create the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, which adopted the slain activist's slogan "freedom by any means necessary" as their own.      

Bobby Seale ~ Gagged & Chained
vinyl LP back cover detail
 cover design by Bill Tucker
back cover detail photo by Styrous®

Seale and Newton together wrote the doctrines "What We Want Now!" which Seale said were intended to be "the practical, specific things we need and that should exist" and "What We Believe," which outlines the philosophical principles of the Black Panther Party in order to educate the people and disseminate information about the specifics of the party's platform. These writings were part of the party's Ten-Point Program, also known as the "The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense Ten-Point Platform and Program," a set of guidelines to the Black Panther Party's ideals and ways of operation. Seale and Newton decided to name Newton Minister of Defense and Seale became the Chairman of the party. During his time with the Panthers, he underwent surveillance by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as part of its COINTELPRO program, which conducted covert (and at times illegal) projects surveilling, infiltrating, discrediting and disrupting domestic political organizations.       

Bobby Seale ~ Gagged & Chained
vinyl LP gatefold cover
 cover design by Bill Tucker
back cover detail photo by Styrous®

In 1968, Seale wrote, Seize the Time: The Story of the Black Panther Party and Huey P. Newton, published in 1970. The book describes the evolution of the Black Panthers and the continuous struggle for human liberation, and derives from tape recordings made by Seale between 1968 and 1970. Its purpose was to give a better insight into the Black Panthers, essentially providing an understanding of what the party does, who is involved, and how they help the freedom movement. It shows the chronological development of the Panther Party while delivering a background on the oppression of Afro-Americans in an unjust society.    

Bobby Seale ~ Gagged & Chained
vinyl LP gatefold interior
 cover design by Bill Tucker
back cover detail photo by Styrous®

Bobby Seale was one of the original "Chicago Eight" defendants charged with conspiracy and inciting a riot in the wake of the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Bobby Seale, while in prison, stated, "To be a Revolutionary is to be an Enemy of the state. To be arrested for this struggle is to be a Political Prisoner."

The evidence against Seale was slim, as he was a last-minute replacement for activist Eldridge Cleaver and had been in Chicago for only two days of the convention.      

Bobby Seale ~ Gagged & Chained
vinyl LP, side 1
detail photo by Styrous®
On November 5, 1969, Judge Hoffman sentenced him to four years in prison for 16 counts of contempt, each count for three months of his imprisonment because of his outbursts during the trial, and eventually ordered Seale severed from the case, leading to the proceedings against the remaining defendants being renamed the "Chicago Seven". The trial of the "Chicago Eight" was depicted in the 1987 HBO television movie Conspiracy: The Trial of the Chicago 8, whose script relied heavily upon transcripts from the court proceedings.   

Bobby Seale ~ Gagged & Chained
vinyl LP, side 2
detail photo by Styrous®

While serving his four-year sentence, Seale was put on trial again in 1970 in the New Haven Black Panther trials. Several officers of the Panther organization had murdered a fellow Panther, Alex Rackley, who had confessed under torture to being a police informant. The leader of the murder plan, George Sams, Jr., turned state's evidence and testified that Seale, who had visited New Haven only hours before the murder, had ordered him to kill Rackley. The trials were accompanied by a large demonstration in New Haven on May Day, 1970, which coincided with the beginning of the American college student strike of 1970. The jury was unable to reach a verdict in Seale's trial, and the charges were eventually dropped. The government suspended his convictions and Seale was released from prison in 1972.   

Bobby Seale ~ Gagged & Chained
vinyl LP, side 3
detail photo by Styrous®

The action of Judge Julius Hoffman to have Seale bound and gagged, was commemorated in the song Chicago written by Graham Nash and mentioned in the poem and song H2Ogate Blues by Gil Scott-Heron (eerily pertinent today). Memphis Slim also interpreted the event with his blues song, Chicago Seven (links to music on YouTube below).    

Bobby Seale ~ Gagged & Chained
vinyl LP, side 4
detail photo by Styrous®

Bobby Seale ‎– Gagged And Chained (The Sentencing Of Bobby Seale For Contempt)
Label: Certron ‎– CSS2-2001
Format: 2 × Vinyl, LP, Album
Country: US
Released: 1970
Genre: Non-Music
Style: Interview


Side 1:

A1     Bobby Seale Speaks Live     2:33
A2     Beginning Of Trial     15:10

Side 2: Trial Of Bobby Seale    
Side 3: Trial Of Bobby Seale    
Side 4: Trial Of Bobby Seale    

Companies, etc.

    Manufactured By – Certron Corporation Music Division
    Copyright (c) – Certron Corporation


    Producer – Dennis F. Shanahan



Printed in U.S.A.

"A dramatic, historical re-enactment of the Chicago Conspiracy Trial, November 5, 1969, as it relates to Bobby Seale and the sentencing of Seale for contempt by Judge Julius Hoffman".
Barcode and Other Identifiers

    Matrix / Runout (Stamped Side A ): CSS-22001-A-1
    Matrix / Runout (Stamped Side B): CSS-22001-B-1
    Matrix / Runout (Stamped Side C): CSS-22001-C-1
    Matrix / Runout (Stamped Side D): CSS-22001-D-1
    Other (Cat# Disc 1): CSS2-2001-1
    Other (Cat# Disc 2): CSS2-2001-2

Net links:
Graham Nash, Chicago on YouTube            
Memphis Slim, Chicago Seven on YouTube       
Gil Scott-Heron, H2Ogate Blues on YouTube              
Styrous® ~ Friday, February 18, 2017


  1. Excellent, Max, the information you give in this article. I remember the trial, I was very young and in Spain we folowed the news arriving from Chicago. Last January I could visit the exhibitions about th Black Panthers in Oakland and I attended the speech of Bobby Seale at MLK High School in Berkeley. Your post comes to me in the right moment. Thank you.

  2. Thank you very much, Ana. I remember this incident so well & I recall being very shocked. I cannot believe it is happening again.

    I wish I could have heard him speak.


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