In 1965, Sekou joined the Organization of Afro-American Unity (OAAU), founded by Malcolm X. After Malcolm's death the OAAU was not going in the direction he wanted and in 1967 he was looking at the Black Panther Party. In early 1968 he helped build the Bronx Black Panther Party.
On January 17, 1969 two Panthers had been killed by members of Organization Us (a rival Black Nationalist group) and a fellow New York Panther who was in police custody was brutally beaten. Sekou was informed that police were searching for him in connection with a police shooting. At that point, Sekou joined the black underground with the Black Liberation Army.
The two Black Panthers murdered in January 17, 1969 in the grounds of UCLA were Alprentis "Bunchy" Carter and John Huggins. Both were UCLA students and leaders of the Los Angeles Black Panther Party Chapter. Brothers George and Larry Stiner and Donald Hawkins turned themselves in to the police, who had issued warrants for their arrests. They were convicted for conspiracy to commit murder and two counts of second-degree murder, based on testimony given by Black Panther Party members. The Stiner brothers both received life sentences and Hawkins served time in California’s Youth Authority Detention.
Sekou Odinga remained underground, partaking in revolutionary clandestine activity for twelve years until his capture. Upon being captured in 1981 he was charged with six counts of attempted murder, nine predicate acts of Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organization (RICO), stemming from his alleged involvement in the liberation of Assata Shakur from prison and the Brink's armored car robbery. He was convicted in 1984 and sentenced to a consecutive twenty-five years to life state sentence and a forty year federal sentence.
Odinga was released from prison on November 25, 2014.
Odinga has eight children and 18 grandchildren. He is the father of late rapper Yaki Kadafi.
- The Briar Patch: The Trial of the Panther 21 by Murray Kempton
- Agents of Repression by Ward Churchill
- Perversions of Justice: The Prosecution and Acquittal of the Panther 21 by Peter L. Zimroth
- Harvey E. Klehr (1990), Far Left of Center, pp. 115–118, ISBN 978-0-88738-875-0
- Black Panther Convicted of Trying to Kill 6 Officers Released From Prison, DNAInfo, Nov. 26, 2014.