Widely viewed as a gifted lawyer and educator, Kathleen Cleaver continues to speak out ardently against racism. She is highly in demand as a lecturer and has published numerous articles in newspapers and magazines.
Born in May 1945, Cleaver was the first child of Ernest Neal and Juette Johnson Neal. Her father was a sociology professor at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. Her mother held a master's degree in mathematics. Ernest Neal would later accept a position at Tuskegee Institute, in Alabama. After six years of teaching sociology and designing community development projects, Ernest Neal joined the Foreign Service and moved the family abroad. The Neal family would spend the next years in such locations as India, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and the Philippines. Kathleen eventually returned to the U.S., attending both Oberlin and Barnhard colleges. In 1966, she would begin working for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Council. As secretary of SNCC's campus program, she assisted in organizing a black student conference at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. One of the attendees of the conference was the Minister of Information for the Black Panther Party Eldridge Cleaver. Eldridge Cleaver's perspectives on Black Nationalism and revolution captivated Kathleen. Attracted by the Party's more radical ideas for social change, she left SNCC and joined the Black Panther Party in 1967. Later that year, she and Eldridge Cleaver would be married.
Between 1968 and 1971, several critical events would take place-leaving Eldridge and Kathleen exiled to Algeria, and expelled from the Black Panther Party. The Cleavers would then form the Revolutionary People's Communication Network. And in the fall of 1971, Kathleen would return to the U.S. and set up headquarters. In 1975, Eldridge would return to America, and be immediately imprisoned. Kathleen would spend the next six years fighting for his freedom. With her husband's legal issues resolved, Mrs. Cleaver would enroll at Yale University-graduating with a degree in History in 1983. After divorcing Eldridge in 1987, she would earn her law degree in 1988. She's been practicing law & seeking to educate the masses on Economic & Educational Issues ever since...
"The young people recognized that their most powerful weapon was their imagination. That's something the Party emphasized. We could imagine how the world could be different and act to bring it about."