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African American Women Speak Out - Essay Example

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African American Women Speak Out

African Americans in general have come a long way from the dark days of slavery; this is especially the case for women. There are so many challenges and issues that this group has faced over the year thus making it very difficult to summarize all this information in one piece. First of all, Black People were struggling with the revolutionary agenda and in order to garner support for their movement, most of the members of this party had to construct certain identities that were unique to the black person.
Another issue that cropped up in this period was the fact that there high levels of Sexism in the Black Panther party. This was largely depicted by the Actions of the Party's leaders-Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. In a book Published by Doubleday "A taste of Power" by Elaine Brown (1994), the author describes her experiences as a member of the Black Panther party. Elaine Brown was brought up in a poor Black community but had the opportunity to access education.During her time in the Black Panther party, Elaine Brown, along with other women in the movement were largely interested in transforming African American welfare. These actions were the things that took up most of her time. Some of the activities that Ms. Brown focused on included increasing medical assistance to her community, provision of food assistance among many other aspects related to the social well being of her community. However the men in this party had a more radical approach to their coz. Most of them applied as double thronged approach in the revolutionary activities; there was the political dimension and the militant dimension. Leaders like Huey Newton and Bobby Seale wanted to create a defensive system for the Black people through military techniques. These ideas even permeated into the running of their daily activities.
For instance, the Black Panther party used to publish a newspaper in which Elaine Brown was one of the editors. At one time, it happened that Brown (1994) had delayed with the newspaper's production by one hour. In response to this action, the tough disciplinarian Booby Seale sought to find out who had caused this delay. When it was revealed that the editing took longer than required, Seale commanded his subordinates to disciple Elaine Brown. They did this by flogging her with ten lashes on her back. Brown (1994) explains that while going through the beating, she was "burning with rage" at the actions of her leader Seale who seemed to be applying double standards in the administration of justice within this party.
Within the Black Panther movement, women were expected to silently obey the words of the male leaders. Even the manner in which codes of practice were established in the Black Panther Party reflected this deeply engrained Sexism. No one was expected to vote or contribute to the rules governing the party. Instead, women were to listen and abide by the decisions made by their male counterparts. It is also interesting to note that within this party, there were no female leaders as all of them were predominantly male. This goes to show that women were almost invisible. To the men in top positions, women were seen as instruments that could be used to implement the party goals and nothing more.
However, despite this seeming mistrust, on cannot overlook the fact that some women in the Black Panther Party contributed towards Black empowerment in their own silent way. One such case is the latter mentioned author who chose to change her society in whichever little way she could.
Cleaver (1968) in his book Soul on Ice brings in a totally different dimension to the sentiments and feelings ...Show more

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African Americans in general have come a long way from the dark days of slavery;this is especially the case for women.There are so many challenges and issues that this group has faced over the year …
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