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By August 1974, the Black Panthers were a national organization to be reckoned with, supported by millions of blacks as well as white liberals. How Brown came to leadership in this paramilitary, male-dominated organization, and what she did with that ...
By August 1974, the Black Panthers were a national organization to be reckoned with, supported by millions of blacks as well as white liberals. How Brown came to leadership in this paramilitary, male-dominated organization, and what she did with that power, is an unsparing story of self-discovery. Photos.
Posted September 12, 2002
I am a 20 year old college student and only accidentally came across "A Taste of Power" while looking for the autobiography of the much more recognized Angela Davis. The book was incredible to say the least. Though only a small segment of the book discussed sexism in the party, the message was overwhelming. Male chauvinistic attitudes, to a large extent, destroyed the party. Elaine, though seemingly strong-minded, also struggles with the self-worth issues that are so common amongst black women. She tried hard to fit into the schema of black womanhood that others (whites, her mother, black men) had created for her. She moves quickly through the ranks of the party, experiencing a taste of power, but in the end she wonders if she lost herself. READ IT!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 16, 2000
Those of us who study the turbulent '60s finally have a book that deals with the behind the scenes interactions, intricacies and intimacies of that period. Elaine Brown captures, in most eloquent terms, the essence of what the Black Panther Party was all about behind the scenes, and also sheds light on a number of other issues; sexism in the power, exploitation of sisters by brothers; police brutality and abuse; Huey Newton's drug abuse; and much, much more. Elaine Brown was a beauty whose poster I saw all over the Bay Area in the day. She was the first sister to occupy a major position in the party, and she paid dearly for it. The Panthers, like US and other organizations, wanted to have the discipline of a military operation but in the case of the Panthers, their discipline was discretionary (based on what Huey wanted), inconsistent (brothers got one form of punishment, sisters another) and brutal (it is rumored that the night Bobby Seale got his beating, he also got raped by his attackers). At any rate, the Party made important contributions, and these are also highlighted in this incredibly spellbinding masterpiece. Elaine Brown traces the Panther story from its beginnings to its gradual demise, and truly continues to hold Newton in high regard. However, she apparently pulls no punches as she admits to her own weaknesses when it came to sex, and her retrospective mistakes regarding her bid for office in Oakland. Like the Party, Brown was a conglomeration of her own contradictions. Unlike the Party, she is more than willing to admit it. The sister does the history of our people proud in her analyses, not only of the Party, but of the conditions and consciousness which brought the Party into existence. She also illuminates the role that snitches (like Earl Anthony, who wrote books entitled Picking Up the Gun and later, Spitting Against the Wind) played in the unfortunately demise of the organization. This book is important reading.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.