Eldridge Cleaver was a notorious American political activist and author, who spearheaded the Black Panther Party. After being declared as a fugitive by the United States criminal justice in Cuba and Algeria, Cleaver spent most of his life in exile. But it did not reduce his stranglehold in the party. Eventually, feuds and disputes with rival leaders, Newton and Seale, led to the weakening of the Black Panther Party. Cleaver is renowned for his work ‘Soul on Ice’ where he describes his transformation from a goon, accused of rapes and dealing marijuana, to a Marxist revolutionary abiding by the ideologies of Malcolm X. ‘Soul on Ice’ can be divided into four sections namely Letters from Prison, Blood of the Beast, Prelude to Love – Three Letters and White Woman, Black Man. These writings clearly highlight his thoughts and sayings on issues pertaining to racism, rape, conviction, gender relation, sexuality and black masculinity. Let us go through some of the quotes from this notorious leader.
In prison, those things withheld from and denied to the prisoner become precisely what he wants most of all.
There is no calamity which a great nation can invite which equals that which follows a supine submission to wrong and injustice and the consequent loss of national self-respect and honor, beneath which are shielded and defended a people's safety and greatness.
What America demands in her black champions is a brilliant, powerful body and a dull, bestial mind.
Respect commands itself and can neither be given nor withheld when it is due.
The Twist was a guided missile launched from the ghetto into the heart of suburbia. The Twist succeeded, as politics, religion and law could never do, in writing in the heart and soul what the Supreme Court could only write on the books.