9 Geo. J. Gender & L. 403 (2008)
Whose Revolution is This - Gender's Divisive Role in the Black Panther Party

handle is hein.journals/grggenl9 and id is 407 raw text is: WHOSE REVOLUTION Is THIS? GENDER'S DivIsivE
ROLE LN THE BLACK PANTHER PARTY
SAMUEL JOSEPHS*
I. CALLING ALL MEN: BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT OF GENDER'S
ROLE EARLY  ON  .....................................   404
A.  EARLY RECRUITMENT ..............................    408
B.  WOMEN GAIN INTEREST  ............................   410
C.  WOMEN JOIN  THE PARTY ............................  412
II. THE FEDERAL, STATE, AND LOCAL ATACK ON THE BLACK
PANTHER  PARTY  .....................................   413
III.  GENDER'S  DIVIDE  ....................................  416
A. THE VISIBILITY OF PANTHER WOMEN: GENDER DISCUSSED ON
THE  FRONT  PAGES  ................................  416
B. GENDER AS AN INCREASING SOURCE OF TENSION ...........  423
INTRODUCTION
The gender ideology of the Black Panther Party (the BPP or the Party) was
a critical component of the Party's formation, its membership, and its day-to-day
activities. Founders Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale consciously set out to
challenge alleged deficiencies concerning the role of black men as providers and
defenders of the black community. Early recruitment efforts, directed in large
part by the Party's Minster of Information, Eldridge Cleaver, focused on men,
and early rhetoric asserted the Party's hyper-masculine ideal.
As time passed, women became interested in the Party. Some women
perceived the Party's platform as gender neutral, while others were attracted to
the Party's unique gendered message. Whatever the reason, women would soon
become a dominant presence within the Party. As male members were forced into
exile, were sent to prison, or in some cases, were killed, women's roles became
increasingly important. Women's membership reached sixty percent and eventu-
ally women were responsible for running the daily activities of the Party.
The increased presence of women in an organization that had quite deliberately
organized around black men, raised questions about women's role in the Black
Panther revolution. The gender question was thoroughly debated, playing itself
out on the front pages of the Party's primary communications vehicle-the
Party's official newspaper The Black Panther.
The nature of articles published in The Black Panther demonstrated the loaded

* J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 2008. V 2008, Samuel Josephs.

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