A Taste o fPower

For those of you who don’t know me, I am an avid reader. I especially enjoy reading Black history.

I am currently re-reading my copy of Ex-Black Panther Elaine Brown’s A Taste of Power.

I had the pleasure of meeting this incredible Black woman at one of DePaul University’s Black history month festivities.

She spoke on the role of Black women in the Civil Rights Movement and the incredible sacrifices they made.

I admire Elaine because for me, she is the true Black revolutionary.

Elaine is like all of those other self-sacrificing Black women totally committed to uplifting our community. She was a true soldier in the battle for not only freedom for our people, but respect.

And, like a true revolutionary, she has had her share of battles from within and outside of the African American community.

She has been abused by the American “Gestapo” law enforcement establishment.

Sadly, she was also the victim of abuse by the unenlightened men of the Black Panther Party-an organization to which she was totally dedicated.

Huey Newton is perhaps the one figure besides Malcolm X that is still revered by our young people who are fortunate enough to have been exposed to our history of Black Nationalism.

However, he was also the beast of burden that she was forced to endure.

No disrespect in this post is intended for Huey. But honesty about our leaders is what we need.

Although we have overcome and are still reeling from the effects of slavery, we are not perfect.

Elaine took her share of beatings from her “beloved” brothers who were always so quick to call us Nubian goddesses.

I have no intention of giving a rundown on the tensions of Black feminism and Black Nationalism.

Instead, my intentions are to introduce Elaine as an example of an extraordinary Black woman and to use her example to live our lives as strong, Black, and capable women.

Following certain unfortunate circumstances, Huey was forced to flee the United States for the relative safety of Cuba-a country with a history of granting refuge to African American revolutionary outlaws.

In his stead and with his blessing, Elaine became the first woman leader of the Black Panther Party.

In the hyper-masculine 1970’s, where unfortunately Black men used bravado to mask their vulnerable position in American society, this was really a big deal.

She instituted community programs that have perhaps changed the lives of poor African Americans for forever.

She even ran for political office in Oakland in which she garnered a respectable following.

After hearing her speak at DePaul, I asked and she graciously signed a copy of her book with the following inscription:

To my sister Jolene, may you find the power in you!

Perhaps what has touched me so much about this remarkable woman’s life is that she has never become victim to the gender was that currently plague our community. She has never lost her revolutionary zeal.

She even made a run for the White House representing the Green Party.

Unlike any veteran of the bleak Civil Rights and Black Power eras, Elaine has had her share of vilification from the extreme political right and extreme adoration from the white liberal establishment.

Both tried to use her as a pawn for their political motivations.

Like a true survivor, she had to find her own path in life.

If this post does nothing else, please read and use Elaine as a source of inspiration.

I will never forget her graciousness.

To me she is the ultimate Madam-X!!!!!

Reclaiming and loving our history is so necessary to our survival!

Until Next Time……