They were under attack! Elaine Brown hung up the phone and picked up her gun.
The Los Angeles Headquarters of the Black Panther Party (BPP) was being riddled by LAPD SWAT team bullets. Would they survive? Maybe they’d be coming for her next.
This is WHY the BPP was founded – to patrol Black communities and protect Black people from police brutality. When she toured the LA headquarters, bullet holes peppered the walls. The ceiling was caving in.
She knew they were up against a violent threat, but that fighting fire with fire wasn't the ONLY strategy.
When Elaine Brown rose to power after Huey Newton self-exiled in Cuba, she argued with sexist leaders who wanted to be forceful, calling her militarily weak.
She knew that building a strong Black community meant feeding, educating AND protecting the people – that’s how you achieved real liberation. Why was she fighting both racism and her own political party?
Ignoring the haters, she continued the legacy she began when she established the first LA Free Breakfast for Children program. As Chairwoman, she enhanced the Freedom Breakfast programs, ran for office, and helped to redefine the role of women in the BPP, aiming to build the community through love and service - not just fighting. She refused to let the men tell her how to lead!
Like Elaine Brown, if we persist in fighting racism and sexism for the liberation of our people by any means, then we can build strong Black communities.