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Wed, 01.05.1938

Elbert Howard, Black Panther Activist born

Elbert Howard

*Elbert Howard was born on this date in 1938. He was a Black activist, author, and founding member of the Black Panther Party.

Howard was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to Anderson and Emma (Hawkshaw) Howard. In 1956 he enlisted in the Air Force. He served four years, and when honorably discharged at Travis Air Force Base in Northern California, he decided to stay in the area.

While attending Merritt College, Howard met Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton. In 1966, at 28, he became one of the six original founding members of the Black Panther Party. The others were Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, "Lil" Bobby HuttonReggie Forte, and Sherman Forte. Howard was an active member of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense through 1974 and acted as the party's "Deputy Minister of Information," often functioning as a lead spokesperson for the party while other members were imprisoned.

After leaving the party in 1974, Howard returned to Tennessee. In Memphis, he served on the boards of directors of several African American progressive educational institutions. In 2001, Howard self-published his memoir, Panther on the Prowl, covering the rise and fall of the Black Panthers. In 2003, he was a coordinator for the All of Us or None Ex-Offender Program and was a member of the Millions for Reparations committee.

Howard moved to Forestville, California, with his wife, Carole Hyams. They married in 2007. He was a founder of the Police Accountability Clinic & Helpline of Sonoma County and a board member of KWTF, a community radio station. As a lifelong lover of America's original musical art form, jazz, he hosted jazz/blues programs at several radio stations. Elbert Big Man Howard died on July 23, 2018.

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