Courtesy of Elaine Brown

Longreads

Elaine Brown | A Taste of Power, Pantheon | 1992 | 30 minutes (7,440 words)

Elaine Brown is an American prison activist, writer, lecturer and singer. In 1968, she joined the Los Angeles chapter of the Black Panther Party as a rank-and-file member. Six years later, Huey Newton appointed her to lead the Party when he went into exile in Cuba. She was the first and only woman to lead the male-dominated Party. In 2003 she co-founded the National Alliance for Radical Prison Reform and released a second nonfiction book, The Condemnation of Little B.

Her 1992 autobiography A Taste of Power is a story of what it means to be a black woman in America, tracing her life from a lonely girlhood in the ghettos of North Philadelphia to the highest levels of the Black Panther Party’s hierarchy. The Los Angeles Times described the book as “a profound, funny and…heartbreaking American story,” and the New…

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