Kathleen Cleaver on the Black Panther Film Fest, Her Life & Activism Today

August 01, 2003

Last night the third annual International Black Panther Film Festival opened in New York. The festival was founded by Kathleen Cleaver, one of the major voices in the Black liberation movements of the 1960s and 1970s.

In 1966 she joined the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee. A year later she joined Black Panther Party. She became the Communications Secretary of the Black Panther Party and was the first woman on the Party’s Central Committee.

In the early 1970s, she spent years in exile with her then husband, Eldridge Cleaver. She returned to the U.S. and eventually graduated from Yale Law School in 1987. She is now a professor at Emory Univeristy.

In 1999 she started the International Black Panther Film Festival. I talked with her recently and asked about her inspiration in starting the festival.