Eldridge Cleaver


Biography of Eldridge Cleaver

Leroy Eldridge Cleaver (August 31, 1935 – May 1, 1998) better known as Eldridge Cleaver, was a writer and political activist who became an early leader of the Black Panther Party. His book Soul On Ice is a collection of essays praised by The New York Times Book Review at the time of its publication as "brilliant and revealing."

Cleaver went on to become a prominent member of the Black Panthers, having the titles Minister of Information, and Head of the International Section of the Panthers while in exile in Cuba and Algeria. As editor of the official Panther's newspaper, Cleaver's influence on the direction of the Party was rivaled only by founders Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. Cleaver and Newton eventually fell out with each other, resulting in a split that weakened the Party.

A reformed serial rapist and racist, Cleaver wrote in Soul on Ice, "If a man like Malcolm X could change and repudiate racism, if I myself and other former Muslims can change, if young whites can change, then there is hope for America."

After spending seven years in exile in Cuba, Algeria and France, Cleaver returned to the US in 1975 to become involved in various alternative Christian movements (Unification Church, CARP, and Mormonism), and become a conservative Republican, appearing at Republican events.

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