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Definition: Cleaver, (Leroy) Eldridge (1935–1998) from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

US political activist. He joined the Black Panthers in 1967 (see Black Power), becoming minister of information, and stood for US president in 1968. After a fight with the police, he fled to Cuba in 1968 and Algeria in 1969. His political autobiography, Soul on Ice, was published in 1968.

While in prison 1957–66, Cleaver became a Black Muslim minister. Later he became a born-again Christian in France, and toured the USA as an evangelist. His Post-Prison Writings and Speeches were published in 1969.


Cleaver, (Leroy) Eldridge

Summary Article: Cleaver, Eldridge
from The Columbia Encyclopedia

(Leroy Eldridge Cleaver), 1935–98, African-American social activist, b. Wabbaseka, Ark. Growing up in Los Angeles, he spent much of 1954–66 in prison for various crimes including rape. In 1966 he joined the staff of Ramparts magazine, and soon became a member of the Black Panthers. In 1968 his book Soul on Ice made him famous. The next year, fleeing arrest following a Panther shootout with Oakland (Calif.) police, he began a period of exile in Cuba, Algeria, and other points, during which he broke with the Panthers. After his return to the United States in 1975, he espoused a wide, even bizarre, range of political, religious, and commercial causes.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, © Columbia University Press 2018

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