AFROPUNK SOLUTION SESSIONS: SEASON 2, EPISODE 4
December 4, 2019
Black women were always at the forefront of the Civil Rights movement. But Black women haven’t always gotten the recognition or respect they deserve for the integral parts they’ve played in the struggle for Black liberation.
Following the murder of Fred Hampton by the FBI and Chicago police on December 4th 1969, and Huey P. Newton’s 1974 flight to Cuba, Elaine Brown became the only woman to ever lead the Black Panther Party, chairing the organization from 1974 until 1977.
During her time with the Panthers, Brown had a hand in some of the party’s most influential programs, including the Free Breakfast for Children program in Los Angeles and Free Legal Aid Program. During her leadership, Brown spoke up about the difficulties she faced as a Black woman leading an organization. But part of what makes Brown so iconic is that she’s not done, not by a long shot.
At 76, she’s still here. Still fighting for Black liberation and preaching the importance of Black self-determination. Today she still fights for marginalized Black folks, trying to improve economic opportunities for poor Black folks, the kind of Black people who others might want to throw away. She’s the CEO of Oakland & the World Enterprises, Inc., dedicated to launching and sustaining for-profit businesses for cooperative-ownership by formerly incarcerated people. She’s also read in on the new nuances of movement for Black liberation that many young Black folks are involved in today.
Speaking to Sister Elaine is a good reminder that those who came before us have insights into today’s struggles and fights. We shouldn’t just mourn our elders when they pass, we should give them their roses while they can still smell them.
To Sister Elaine: we are forever grateful for all that you’ve done, for all the wisdom you’ve shared, and for your encouragement that we keep fighting for our beliefs.
In addition to the importance of learning from those who came before us, some of the solutions Sister Brown imparts include:
- Fighting for the collective, not just for yourself as an individual.
- The importance of Black folks practicing self determination