These notes illustrate the life and views of Eldridge Cleaver in the 1980s, far removed from the Black Panther revolutionary of the 1960s. He espouses a conservative political ethic based on the positive vision of the Founding Fathers and a virulent opposition to communism, a trait he shared with evangelicals, Mormons, and Moon's Unification Church. While he had been a strong opponent of Governor Ronald Reagan in the 1960s, Cleaver here praises President Reagan as the "No. 1 Freedom Fighter" in the 1980s. Looking back to the Monroe Doctrine, he strongly calls for free trade and open borders, eventually leading to unification of all the Americas.
A collection of his handwritten notes and drafts of speeches, lectures, and letters to the editor, together with a few more routine pages listing contacts and notes from newspaper reading. ELDRIDGE CLEAVER.
Archive of notes for speeches and other notes, ca. 1980-1987. 29 pp., various sizes, most on cardstock, 5 x 7 in. to 6⅝ x 9¾ in.
"Constitutional Seminar for Blacks. / Know thyself. Know they enemy. 1. Who are you? 2. What are you? 3. What is your race? Nationality 4. Do Black Americans have an identity Crisis? Did Slavery Make Blacks Inferior"
Apparently, a rough outline for a course in African-American studies, ca. 1980.
"An Open Letter TO FARMERS of Columbia / Those who take the time to understand plants, and how to raise them, then invest all in actually raising and harvesting the plants in order that We, the people, enjoy the product are great heros. Yet these very people have been treated awful throughout history. It's clear that the people want access to the plants. The Attempt by the Reagan Administration to stigmatize and eradicate plants is a stupid ruse. An oppressive machinery is being assembled under the guise of fighting 'drugs.' Once this gun is fully loaded and aimed at the head of the American people, some one will pull the trigger."
"After all pro & con is said and done, in the final analysis, the real culprit, which those who aim to uplift black Americans must confront is the Black Bourgeoisie."
"It seems like each generation of blacks must learn again through suffering to hate and combat the Black Bourgeoisie. After Franklin Frazier wrote his great expose on the Black Bourgeoisie, everybody understood the history, nature, and danger of this enemy. Before the cock could crow, this book was covered up and its message destroyed by distortions."
E. Franklin Frazier (1894-1962) was an African-American sociologist who first published The Black Bourgeoisie
in French in 1955, then in an English translation in 1957. Frazier argued that middle-class African Americans had adopted conspicuous consumption, wish fulfillment, and a fantasy world rather than helping fellow African Americans.
"Letters to Latin America"
"To me, the letters to the Editor section of a newspaper is the most important part. It's about all the people have left of a free voice. On the other hand, if I wait until I am successful and have money and power to organize a different forum in which to speak with you, that day many never come. So I plunge ahead, like the proverbial amiable idiot, pushing myself forward like a train."
"Berkeley is famous for the history of rebellion, creativity, and innovation. The heart of Berkeley is the University, with 4000 students. In its vanity, Berkeley likes to say that its chief Product is intelligence. Judging from the level of culture, politics, and the relationship amongst the people, I sometimes have my doubts."
Perhaps a continuation of the same editorial:
"I want to apologize to the noble people of Columbia for the ignorance of my countrymen in dealing with you."
"Don't you think we need some bold action? Can't we leap beyond our present situation—our problems, attitudes, relationships, bargain and deals, balance of payments and capture our dreams? Bolivar, etc. O'Higgins had a great dream of uniting the Western Hemisphere. What I've always liked about the Monroe Doctrine was my own interpretation of it. To me, the M. D. provided the possibility that someday we would have a United Hemisphere from Canada and Alaska to Terra del Fuego. One United States of the Americans, with free and open Borders, a common market and a common currency. We need it now."
Simon Bolivar (1783-1830) was a Venezuelan military leader who played key roles in establishing Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama as independent nations, free from Spanish rule. Bernardo O'Higgins (1778-1842) was a Chilean independence leader who led Chile to independence from Spanish rule.
"A Threat to our existence. I do not really want to talk to you about all the threats that confront us, for they are too awesome in their numbers and scope. I dont want to tick off an index of missery. For that I refer you to the rest of this or any other newspaper. I want to talk to you about the solution, the anti-dote, to many, if not all—certainly most—of our problems."
"What ever happened to our dreams? Can you tell me where they have fled? Or have our dreams died? By now you are asking What dreams? What other dreams could I possibly refer to than the great dream of our hemisphere for unity? The dreams of Bolivar, O'Higgins, Hidalgo. The dream of Monroe, Madison, Washington, and Jefferson. The great dream of Hemispheric Unity. The United States of Latin America, then the United States of The Americas. Instead of this dream, look at our reality! This backwater of suicidal infighting and intrigue. We have become little and stupid."
"Some American poet has said, Send me men to match my mountains. How embarrassing to reflect on that today. Are even the volcanoes in our blood extinct?... I believe at all costs we must start a people movement for the Unity of the Americas, and force the creation of a common market from Canada to Argentina, with free travel between our countries. We need to lower all tariffs and tear down all barriers between us. We need a common currency—a truly All American Dollar. Massively diffused satellite communication, and vastly improved transportation."
Leaves from a Diary:
"March 17, 1987… Today's Daily Californian is very reactionary: articles about Mayor Hancock's Anti-Drug Campaign and a Communist meeting on the U.S. Constitution"
"Resolved: To get out my anti-repression newsletters and my Tuskeegee letter and my Treasure Island paper." "Contact Clarence Thomas"
In 1987, Clarence Thomas (b. 1948) was chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In 1989, he became a federal judge, and in July 1991, President George H. W. Bush nominated Thomas as an Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. After a contentious nomination process, Thomas was narrowly confirmed by the Senate in October 1991, and continues to serve on the Supreme Court.
"March 19, 1987.... Berkeley's City Government Is suffering from a severe case of nepotism. Webster defines nepotism as follows:" "UC Berkeley Constitutional Conference / The Division of America and the New Communist Tactics"
"April 7, 1987 American Freedom Coalition… Is it funded by Rev. Moon? Immoral or Illegal"
"A typical Moonie meeting. It is not going to fly, in my estimation. The Stone that the builders rejected has become the Cornerstone of the Foundation."
"I am deeply chagrined by the way that CAUSA has gone on. They've done the same thing that the NCCS has done: denominate me a non-Person. Edit me out of the equation."
CAUSA International (Confederation of the Association for the Unification of the Societies of the Americas) is an anti-communist organization created in 1980 by members of the Unification Church. Cleaver was a speaker for the first CAUSA seminar in February 1983.
The National Center for Constitutional Studies (NCCS) was formed in 1971 as The Freemen Institute by a professor at Brigham Young University. It later changed its name and moved its headquarters to Washington, D.C., where it also received support from Moon's Unification Church, though it is separate.
"Refugee Problem / National ID Card"
"Pope & On Human Work
"Do you believe in Victory or Maintenance"
"Step up supplies of support for Dissidents in Communist Countries"
"Political Asylum: Hjackers from Communist Countries [Stimulate?] Rebellion"
"Export Revolution: Declaration of Independence"
"Build a Better Mouse Trap"
"Notes For Speech...."
"1. Stop New Countries from Going Communist"
"2. Stimulate Rebellion in Communist Countries."
"3. World Council of Democratic Nations Coupled with a very strong rebuke of Dictatorship"
"U.S. Last Obstacle"
"Business: Wheat & Pipe Lines"
"President of U.S.A. No. 1 Freedom Fighter"
"Carter & ZBig: Genuflection"
"America must assert its Power in this World"
"American Race Problems have twofold Value to Communists: International Propaganda / Divide America"
After an early career as a radical activist for African American rights and a leading member of the Black Panther Party, Eldridge Cleaver fled the United States for Cuba and then Algeria in the late 1960s to escape criminal charges. His collection of essays written while he served prison time in the early 1960s was published as Soul on Ice in 1968 and became a key work fusing African-American rights and Marxism. While in France in the early 1970s, on the verge of suicide, Cleaver reportedly saw the face of Jesus Christ in the moon; he returned to America as a Christian and a conservative to face his criminal charges. Imprisoned briefly, he renounced the Marxism and atheism of his Black Panther days.
Eldridge Cleaver (1935-1998) was born in Arkansas and moved with his family to Phoenix and then Los Angeles. After being involved in petty crime as a juvenile, he was convicted of rape and assault with intent to murder in 1958. Released on parole in 1966, he joined the Black Panther Party as Minister of Information. In 1968, he published a number of philosophical and political essays, some of which he had written in prison, as Soul on Ice. In the wake of Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination in April 1968, Cleaver and others ambushed and wounded Oakland police officers. He fled to Cuba to avoid prosecution, where Fidel Castro initially welcomed him. Cleaver then moved to Algeria, where he established an international office for the Black Panthers. He visited North Korea in 1969 and 1970, and hailed the society there under Kim Il Sung. After breaking with the Black Panther Party in 1971, Cleaver moved to Paris in 1972, where he had a religious conversion experience, briefly tried fashion design, and returned to the US in 1975 to face charges. Arrested on his arrival, he spent time in prison in California before white Christians raised money for his bail and he was released in 1976. In 1977, he formed the Eldridge Cleaver Crusades. After a few years of identification with mainline evangelicalism, his religious views became as amorphous as his political ones. Cleaver created a new church based on a synthesis of Islam and Christianity in 1980. He then joined the Reverend Sun Myung Moon's Unification Movement. By 1982, he was a member of the Mormon Church. He failed in two attempts to gain elective office as a conservative in California and faced additional arrests for drug possession and burglary in the 1980s.
Some browning on edges of some pages. Most excellent. (Inventory #: 25332)