Civil Rights Movement: "Black Power" Era
Kathleen Cleaver (1945- ) was a secretary for the New York branch of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. She left the organization in 1967 after meeting Eldridge Cleaver, the Minister of Information for the Black Panthers, who inspired Kathleen to join the Party.
Kathleen, like many of the women involved in the Civil Rights Movement, sought an equal partnership alongside her male peers. Although she found more freedom as a woman in the Black Panthers, she discovered that sexism remained a problem. Kathleen noted that ideas offered by men were immediately implemented, while the same ideas when posed by women were ignored. "The suggestion itself," she explained, "was never viewed objectively. The fact that the suggestion came from a woman gave it lesser value."