[sixties-l] Lest you forget: Women led Black Panthers, too

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Mon Feb 05 2001 - 13:47:19 EST

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    by Bob Jackson, News Staff Writer
    Friday, February 2, 2001

       History might not remember that women wielded great power in the
    Black Panther Party, but Kathleen Cleaver does.

       "One thing needs to be set straight," Cleaver said Thursday. "Women
    did hold high positions in the party. The hierarchy of the Panther
    party had more women than the hierarchy of any state legislature or
    police department or any other civil-rights organization."

       Cleaver, who was recently in Denver to film introductions to a series
    of movies on Black Panther history, was the highest-ranking woman in
    the Panthers. She was the group's communications secretary from 1967 to

       A lawyer, writer, historian and scholar, Cleaver was once married to
    Eldridge Cleaver, minister of information for the Black Panthers.

       She is now a law professor at Emory and Cardozo law schools and
    serves on the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College and the Yale University
    graduate school.

       Cleaver is also writing a book, "Memories of Love and War," about her
    30-year involvement in the struggle to end colonialism and racism.

       "I've had five different fellowships that took care of my expenses
    and gave me the free time to work on the book I'm trying to finish,"
    she said from her home in Connecticut.

       Cleaver filmed her intros at the Gemini Tea Emporium, 2860 Welton St.
    The series of movies by Starz Encore channel and BET Movies are called
    "Heritage: The Panther Perspective." They will air each Friday during
    February, which is Black History Month, on AT&T Digital Channel 535.

       Other air dates are Feb. 13 at 7:40 pm; Feb. 19 at 7:50 pm; Feb 23 at
    6 pm; and Feb. 27 at 9:30 pm.

       "The Heritage series will regularly showcase movies and documentaries
    that take a historic look at the contributions and experience of
    African-Americans," said Chelsye Burrows, director of multicultural
    communications for Encore Media Group.

       "It's crucial that people, in particular our youth, develop a sense
    of history, a history of how blacks have resisted oppression," Cleaver

       It's also important to understand that the goals of the Black
    Panthers have yet to be met, she said.

       "The community is suffering," Cleaver said. "There is still violence
    and terrible housing. There's still oppression and bad health."

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