Interview with Elaine Brown

And you as a woman, what was particular, what brought women into the party?


Well, for me, it was the idea that Black men were actually deciding that they wanted to be men as I, as I put it, in the sense of, um, I was denounced as a matter of fact by some of the women's groups because, um, you know, the question of feminism seemed to not allow for this element, this return to the, the return to the community of the Black male. And I had grown up in a neighborhood where there were two fathers that I could name off the top of my head, that we knew of, that were still in the home and married or whatever. The rest of, most people I knew, and most people in most Black, many Black communities had divorced parents long before these statistics were popular. Or fathers who, the image that we had at least was the father wasn't there. Or the father didn't do this, or there was the, the Black male who was the weak figure and so forth. Here were men who were saying, "Listen, we are willing to take charge of our lives. We are willing to stand up, we are willing"--I mean, there was the appeal that Malcolm had in many ways, and it was the appeal that other people have had, but, but for me, the Black Panthers were the, the ultimate. And so it was the men that I saw and the sense of being part of them and being ha--so happy to see that they cared about me, and I as a child who had no father at home, that had a certain subjective appeal to my psyche and to my emotional need, to say yes, there were men in this world who, who cared, ah, Black men, who, ah, who cared about the community and wanted to, to do something and were willing to, to take it to the, to, to the last, ah, degree.


Could you talk a little--