Information for Researchers
Scope and Content of Collection
Collection Title: Eldridge Cleaver photograph collection
Date (inclusive): 1966-circa 1982
Collection Number: BANC PIC 1991.078--PIC
Cleaver, Eldridge, 1935-1998
Number of containers: 10 boxes, 1 oversize folder (circa 1,720 photographic prints, circa 480 negatives,
circa 440 slides).
The Bancroft Library
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, California, 94720-6000
Phone: (510) 642-6481
Fax: (510) 642-7589
Abstract: Collection consists primarily of snapshots of Eldridge Cleaver's career from the
mid-1960s to the early 1980s. Earliest materials relate to his affiliation with the Black Panther Party. Also
contains photographs taken during his exile abroad from 1968 to 1975. The majority of photographs was taken
after Cleaver's 1975 return to the United States and relate primarily to his activities in conservative politics
and the evangelical Christian movement.
Languages Represented: Collection materials are in English.
Physical Location: COLLECTION STORED, IN PART, OFF-SITE: Advance notice required for
Information for Researchers
Collection is open for research, with the following exceptions: RESTRICTED NEGATIVES: Use of negatives only
by permission of the appropriate curator. Inquiries concerning these materials should be directed, in writing,
to the Head of Public Services, The Bancroft Library.
Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or reproduce
must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of
The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of
the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the user. See:
[Identification of item], Eldridge Cleaver Photograph Collection, BANC PIC 1991.078--PIC, The Bancroft
Library, University of California, Berkeley.
Alternate Forms Available
There are no alternate forms of this collection.
Eldridge Cleaver Papers BANC MSS 91/231 c.
The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public
Cleaver, Eldridge, 1935--Pictorial works
Newton, Huey P.--Portraits
Carmichael, Stokely--Pictorial works
Allende Gossens, Salvador, 1908-1973--Pictorial
Colson, Charles W.--Pictorial works
Stapleton, Ruth Carter--Pictorial works
Axelrod, Beverly--Pictorial works
Black Panther Party--Pictorial works
Gay pride parades--California--San Francisco--Photographs
Vietnam (Democratic Republic)--Pictorial
The Eldridge Cleaver Photograph Collection was transferred from the Eldridge Cleaver Papers, which were given
to The Bancroft Library by Eldridge Cleaver in November 1990. Subsequent additions were received in later
No additions are expected.
The collection has been divided and stored by medium: photographic prints, slides, and negatives. Images are
arranged chronologically, followed by categories representing miscellaneous, often undated activities and
themes (e.g. speaking engagements, press conferences, portraits, and family).
Processed by Chris McDonald.
Leroy Eldridge Cleaver was born on August 3, 1935 in Wabbaseka, Arkansas. In 1956 his family moved to Los
Angeles. During his youth he was convicted for various theft and drug offenses and spent time in reformatories
and the California State Prison at Soledad. In 1958 he was convicted of assault and spent 8 years in the San
Quentin and Folsom prisons. During this period of incarceration he became a member and minister of the Nation of
Islam and a follower of Malcolm X. With the assistance of attorney and lover Beverly Axelrod, Cleaver had
several of his prison writings published in the left-wing periodical
support which his writings earned him from the U.S. intellectual community was influential in gaining Cleaver's
release from prison in 1965. In 1967, while living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Cleaver married Kathleen Neal,
an activist in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. That same year he befriended Huey P. Newton and
Bobby Seale, co-founders of the Black Panther Party, and soon became the Party's Minister of Information. The
following year Cleaver published
Soul On Ice -- a collection of essays named Book
of the Year by the
New York Times -- and ran as a candidate for the U.S. Presidency
for the Peace and Freedom Party. Later that year Cleaver and fellow Black Panther Bobby Hutton were involved in
a shootout with Oakland Police. Hutton was killed and Cleaver was charged with murder. While awaiting trial,
Cleaver fled to Cuba. He would spend the next seven years in exile, living also in Algeria and Paris during that
time. During his exile, Cleaver formed the International Section of the Black Panther Party in Algeria; met with
political leaders in North Vietnam, North Korea and China; quickly became disillusioned with Marxist-Leninist
beliefs; and eventually broke ties with the Black Panthers. During this time he and Kathleen had two children,
Antonio Maceo and Joju. While in Paris, Cleaver experienced a spiritual transformation which led to his
conversion to Christianity and conservative politics. In 1975 Cleaver negotiated with the F.B.I. for his return
to the United States as a prisoner. In 1977, after his renunciation of his earlier political activity and his
release from prison, he founded the Eldridge Cleaver Crusades, an evangelical Christian movement. Cleaver would
later have affiliations with Sun Myung Moon's Collegiate Association of Research Principles and the Mormon
Church. In the 1980s Cleaver ran two unsuccessful campaigns for U.S. Congress. He later became addicted to crack
cocaine and was arrested on several drug-related charges. In 1987 Kathleen Cleaver divorced him. In the 1990s
Cleaver kicked his addiction and worked as a diversity consultant for the University of La Verne in Southern
California. Eldridge Cleaver died May 1, 1998.
[Biographical information abridged from that of the finding aid for the Eldridge Cleaver Papers, BANC MSS
Scope and Content of Collection
Collection consists primarily of snapshots of Eldridge Cleaver's career from the mid-1960s to the early 1980s.
Earliest materials relate to his affiliation with the Black Panther Party and include snapshots, portraits and
negatives of party leaders such as Alprentice "Bunchy" Carter, John Higgins, Stokley Carmichael and attorney
Beverly Axelrod. Also contains photographs taken during his exile abroad from 1968 to 1975, including his stays
in Cuba, Algeria and France; visits to China, North Korea and North Vietnam; and a meeting with Chilean
President Salvador Allende. The majority of photographs was taken after his 1975 return to the United States and
relate primarily to his activities in conservative politics and the Evangelical Christian movement, including
speaking engagements at various California churches and universities. Approximately fifty snapshots of a San
Francisco Gay Pride Parade, dated June 1977, are included. Also contains photographs of his wife Kathleen
Cleaver and children Antonio Maceo and Joju, various friends, and such associates as Huey Newton, Charles Colson
and Ruth Carter Stapleton.