The ‘Big Man’ Remembered
posted by: Tippa Naphtali
published: 26 December 2018
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Elbert “Big Man” Howard, a co-founder of the Black Panther Party who served as newspaper editor, information officer and logistics genius behind the group’s popular social programs, has died at age 80. His wife, Carole Hyams, says Howard died Monday in Santa Rosa, California, after a long illness.
Friends and family described Howard as a “gentle giant” who could paint in words what a jazz song was saying. Howard was an author, volunteer jazz disc jockey, author, lecturer and activist in Sonoma County, where he later made his home.
Howard was one of six people who founded the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense in Oakland in October 1966, along with Bobby Seale and Huey Newton. The political organization started out patrolling police for possible abuse against blacks.
Key members quit in 1974 after years of fatal fights with police and each other. Later it became clear that the FBI had engaged in surveillance and harassment to undermine the party and incriminate its leaders.
Howard quit the party in 1974, but in its active years, he served as editor of its newspaper and deputy minister of information. He traveled to Europe and Asia to set up chapters and was responsible for the social programs that made the party famous.
RIP Elbert “Big Man” Howard
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