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Countdown 12 to February 14th

February 3, 2016


To My Purpose Driven Free Thinkers aka PDFTs! May this month exceed your expectations! As we all know February is Black History Month. I don't know if you study or research Black people who significantly contributed to the Black experience during this month but personally, I don't need a month to tell me it's okay to be Black, speak on Black, or act Black. I'm always Black minded but for y'all who do celebrate Blackness on this month, do it big! As you know (or maybe don't) my book will be dropping on February 14th aka Valentines Day. It'll be available on this website on the STORE page for purchase. If you want to know the synopsis of MEMOIRS OF A FORGOTTEN CHILD go to the Book page on this website. Also, you can check out my youtube channel VIEIS_ME to get more in-depth with my story. I'll add the link below this blog post to the video. And if all that doesn't quench your thirst for MEMOIRS OF A FORGOTTEN CHILD, follow my IG for past and future Daily Snippets from my book. They'll always be available but after February 14th, I won't be making any new Daily Snippets from MEMOIRS OF A FORGOTTEN CHILD. Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-ccDSPFAjI


***EDIT I will be making daily vlogs for the countdown to MEMOIRS OF A FORGOTTEN CHILD, ending on Valentines Day! You can check them out on my Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Here's the second: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lhqJox0x9Tc


Today I'll be honoring Kathleen Neal Cleaver who is a professor of law and a former member of the Black Panther Party. Kathleen Cleaver was born in Memphis, Texas on May 13th, (fun fact! We're birthday twins) 1945. Her parents both graduated college, her father (Ernest Neal) was a sociology professor at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, and her mother (Juette Neal) received a master's degree in mathematics. Right after Kathleen's birth her father accepted a job as a director of the Rural Life Council of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Six years later Ernest joined the Foreign Service which meant the family moved to different countries often like India, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Philippines. Kathleen then returned back to the United States to enroll in a Quaker boarding school near Philadelphia, George School. In 1963, Kathleen She graduated with honors. Soon after she enrolled at Oberlin College she transferred to Barnard College. In 1966, she dropped out of college for a secretarial job with the New York office of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).


Her position required her to organize a student seminar at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. There, Kathleen met Eldridge Cleaver who at the time was the minister of information for the Black Panther Party. In November 1967, Kathleen moved to San Francisco to join the Black Panther Party. On December 27, 1967, Kathleen Neal and Eldridge Cleaver were married. Kathleen became the communications secretary as well as the Black Panther Party’s first female member of the decision-making group and she served as the spokesperson in addition to the press secretary. Most notably, she organized the national campaign to free the Black Panther Party’s minister of defense, Huey Newton, who was in jail at the time. Kathleen was one of the small group of women who were spearheads in the Black Panther Party, two other important women in the cause were Elaine Brown (chairman of the BPP) and Ericka Huggins (a leader in the BPP). In 1968, Kathleen ran for California's 18th state assembly district (one of eighty seats in California's State Assembly district) plus as a candidate of the Peace and Freedom party. Cleaver received 2,778 votes which amounted to 4.7% of the total vote, she landed in third place in a four-candidate race.


Police often harassed the Cleavers including constantly being under investigation because of their participation in the Black Panther Party. In 1668, (prior to the Panther rally) their apartment was raided by the San Francisco Tactical Squad with false accusations of having guns and ammunition. Later in 1668, Eldridge Cleaver performed an ambush on Oakland police officers, two police officers were injured. Cleaver was wounded and Black Panther Party member Bobby Hutton (treasurer and first recruit) was killed in a shootout. Eldridge was charged with attempted murder, he jumped bail to escape to Cuba where he spent seven months and later fled Algeria to reunite with Kathleen in 1969.


Kathleen gave birth to their child, a son who they named Maceo. In 1970, a year later Kathleen gave birth to their second child, a girl who they named Joju Younghi Cleaver while they were on the run in North Korea. In 1971, Huey Newton (co-founder of the Black Panther Party) and Eldridge had a disagreement; this led to the banishment of the International Branch of the Black Panther Party, because of this the Cleavers formed a new organization named the Revolutionary People’s Communication Network. Kathleen returned to organizing and promoting the new organization but to execute the task efficiently she and the children moved back to New York. The Algerian government became displeased with Eldridge and the new organization which resulted in Eldridge being forced to leave the country but in 1973 he secretly met with Kathleen in Paris. Later in 1973, Kathleen traveled back to the U.S. to plan Eldridge’s stay as well as aggregate funds for his defense. In 1974, the French government granted the Cleaver family legal residency, providing them sanction to be together, yet in 1975 the Cleavers moved back to the U.S. and Eldridge was sentenced to prison. He was found guilty of assault for the shoot-out back in 1968. He was sentenced to five years probation plus 2,000 hours of community service. Kathleen supported Eldridge by trying to raise funds for his defense, and in 1976 Eldridge was granted bail. It took until 1980 for Eldridge's legal cases to get cleared up. In 1981, Kathleen Cleaver enrolled back into college and received a full scholarship from Yale University. In 1983, Kathleen graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and summa cum laude (with very high honor),  In 1987, she divorced Eldridge Cleaver but continued expanding her education by earning a law degree from Yale Law School. 



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