Black Panther Women's Roles

607 Words3 Pages
Consequently, their growing presence allowed women to occupy larger roles with less obvious opposition. While many continued the roles that they had flourished in previously, from running the Free Breakfast for Children program to providing health care through clinics, many expanded their efforts into previously inaccessible leadership positions. Some created their own, like Kathleen Neal Cleaver, who founded the position of Communications Secretary and, in the process, became the first woman to officially play an active role in the Party 's decision making (Cleaver, 125). Others, like Elaine Brown, Ericka Huggins, and JoNina Abron served as editors throughout the 1970s for The Black Panther, a publication that provided them the opportunity to voice their own…show more content…
This involvement brought with it heightened discussions on women 's issues that had been absent from the Party 's founding: specifically, a woman 's role as an activist on the frontlines (Lumsden). The Black Panther 's eventual focus on the "emancipation of woman,” along with the Party 's rising women leaders, turned its attention from "the lower class of brothers" and the "cream of Black manhood" to Black Power as it related to both men and women (Josephs, 424). Women were finally being seen less as "females" within the Party and, instead, as fellow Panthers. The Black Panther Party 's shifting goals were not without backlash, however, and following Elaine Brown 's appointment to chairperson in 1974, tension grew between its members. Firstly, Brown brought with her a deeper concentration on women 's growth within the Party. Along with continuing to support the rhetoric of The Black Panther, she also appointed women to key positions that were historically held by men (Millward, 74), and enforced a ban on the frequent
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