Black History Facts
Eldridge Cleaver (Leroy Eldridge Cleaver), 1935–98, African-American social activist, b. Wabbaseka, Ark. Growing up in Los Angeles, he spent much of 1954–66 in prison for various crimes including rape. In 1966 he joined the staff of Ramparts magazine, and soon became a member of the Black Panthers. In 1968 his bookSoul on Ice made him famous. The next year, fleeing arrest following a Panther shootout with Oakland (Calif.) police, he began a period of exile in Cuba, Algeria, and other points, during which he broke with the Panthers.