April 21, 2016
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture's founding conference, and the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panther Party, we are pleased present Kathleen Neal Cleaver for our 2016 Annual Public Lecture. From 1967 until 1971, Cleaver was the Communications Secretary of the Black Panther Party, and the first woman member of their Central Committee. Professor Cleaver currently lectures in legal history, civil rights history, and slavery and the anti-slavery movement at Emory University School of Law. She will use this lecture to focus on the role of women in the Black Liberation Movement, then and now.
Kathleen Neal Cleaver has spent most of her life participating in the human rights struggle. In 1966 she dropped out of Barnard College to work full time with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) where she served in the Campus Program. From 1967 to 1971 she was the Communications Secretary of the Black Panther Party, the first woman member of their Central Committee. After sharing years of exile with her former husband Eldridge Cleaver, she returned to the United States in late 1975. Devoting many years to challenging racist injustice, Cleaver has worked to free imprisoned freedom fighters, including Geronimo (Pratt) ji Jaga and Mumia Abu-Jamal.
Cleaver graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in History from Yale College in 1984, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. After receiving a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1989, Cleaver became an associate at the New York law firm of Cravath, Swaine and Moore. Kathleen Cleaver joined the faculty of Emory University Law School in 1992.
Cleaver has also taught at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York, in the African American Studies Department of Yale University, and at Sarah Lawrence College during 1999, where she was the Joanne Woodward Professor of Public Policy. She has won fellowships at the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute of Harvard University, the Center for Historical Analysis at Rutgers University, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Center for Scholars and Writers of the New York Public Library to complete her book Memories of Love and War, a memoir which is still in progress. Her writing has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Ramparts, The Black Panther, the Village Voice, the Boston Globe, and Transition, and she has published scholarly essays in Critical Race Feminism, Critical White Studies, The Promise of Multiculturalism, and The Black Panther Party Reconsidered. Along with George Katsiaficas, humanities professor at Wentworth Institute of Technology, she co-edited the essay collection Liberation, Imagination, and the Black Panther Party (Routledge, 2001), and edited the collection of writings by Eldridge Cleaver published in the book, Target Zero: A Life in Writing, (Palgrave, 2006).
During 2001, Cleaver returned to the Emory Law School as a Senior Lecturer and Research Fellow. She co-founded and produced the International Black Panther Film Festival based in Harlem from 1999 through 2003. Since 2000 Cleaver has served as co-director of the Human Rights Research Fund, part of a network of anti-racist organizations engaged in documenting violations of the human rights of U.S. citizens who challenge the racist and military policies within the United States. In addition to speaking widely across the U.S. at universities and public forums, she also participated in international study programs at the American University of Beirut, a United States law school consortium’s summer law study program held in Rio de Janeiro, and the International Book Festival held in Venezuela in 2007. During 2009 Cleaver was a delegate to the 2nd Pan African Cultural Festival held in Algiers, Algeria during 2009, and during 2011 she was a participant in the International Film Festival held in Havana during 2011 when it screened the documentary film produced by Freedom Archives entitled COINTELPRO 101.
Free and open to the public. Register here.
Sponsored by the Global Voices Lecture Series and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture.