source: Press Democrat
published: 24 July 2018
Elbert “Big Man” Howard, a founding member of the Black Panther Party in Oakland and for the past decade a Sonoma County human rights activist and jazz/blues radio host, died Monday in Santa Rosa.
Howard was a military veteran who helped teach fellow Black Panthers to handle guns, but in the company of armed revolutionaries was most strongly drawn to community organizing and outreach to disenfranchised and impoverished people. He was 80 and died after a lengthy illness.
In 1966, he was one of six original Black Panthers co-founders, among them Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. He was international spokesman for the group and editor of their newspaper, which at its peak distributed more than 200,000 copies per week.
In and around Oakland in the latter half of the 1960s and first half of the 70s, Howard took part in shadowing law-enforcement officers to discourage them from abusing blacks and others. And he traveled the world as an emissary for the Black Panthers, seeking support and alliances.