Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Eldridge Cleaver, fully Leroy Eldridge Cleaver

American Writer, Leader of the Black Panther Movement, Author of Soul on Ice

"Too much agreement kills a chat."

"What we're saying today is that you're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem."

"The price of hating other human beings is loving oneself less."

"Respect commands itself and can neither be given nor withheld when it is due."

"You're either part of the solution or you're part of the problem."

"You don't have to teach people how to be human. You have to teach them how to stop being inhuman."

"There is no calamity which a great nation can invite which equals that which follows a supine submission to wrong and injustice and the consequent loss of national self-respect and honor, beneath which are shielded and defended a people's safety and greatness."

"The most revolutionary statement in history is “Love thy enemy.”"

"Ah, what sights and sounds and pain lie beneath that mist. And we had thought that our hard climb out of that cruel valley led to some cool, green and peaceful, sunlit place---but it's all jungle here, a wild and savage wilderness that's overrun with ruins. But put on your crown, my Queen, and we will build a New City on these ruins."

"All the gods are dead except the god of war"

"Americans think of themselves collectively as a huge rescue squad on twenty-four-hour call to any spot on the globe where dispute and conflict may erupt."

"And we had thought that our hard climb out of that cruel valley led to some cool, green, and peaceful, sunlit place but it's all jungle here, a wild and savage wilderness that's overrun with ruins."

"And why does it make you sad to see how everything hangs by such thin and whimsical threads? Because you’re a dreamer, an incredible dreamer, with a tiny spark hidden somewhere inside you which cannot die, which even you cannot kill or quench and which tortures you horribly because all the odds are against its continual burning. In the midst of the foulest decay and putrid savagery, this spark speaks to you of beauty, of human warmth and kindness, of goodness, of greatness, of heroism, of martyrdom, and it speaks to you of love."

"Change or die."

"He used to be a Panther. It was hard to believe."

"History could pass for a scarlet text, its jot and title graven red in human blood."

"Huey P. Newton is the baddest motherfucker ever to set foot inside of history. Huey has a very special meaning to black people, because for four hundred years black people have been wanting to do exactly what Huey Newton did, that is, to stand up in front of the most deadly tentacle of the white racist power structure, and to defy that deadly tentacle, and to tell that tentacle that he will not accept the aggression and the brutality, and that if he is moved against, he will retaliate in kind."

"I can understand J. Edgar Hoover, because he wasn't inaccurate.… He said that we were the main threat. We were trying to be the main threat. We were trying to be the vanguard organization. J. Edgar Hoover was an adversary, but he had good information. We were plugged into all of the revolutionary groups in America, plus those abroad. We were working hand-in-hand with communist parties here and around the world, and he knew that."

"I crossed the tracks and sought out White prey. I did this consciously, deliberately, willfully, methodically... Rape was an insurrectionary act. It delighted me that I was defying and trampling upon the White man's law... and that I was defiling his women."

"I feel that I am a citizen of the American dream and that the revolutionary struggle of which I am a part is a struggle against the American nightmare."

"I have taken an oath in my heart to oppose communism until the day I die."

"I know that sometimes people fake on each other out of genuine motives to hold onto the object of their tenderest feelings. They see themselves as so inadequate that they feel forced to wear a mask in order to continuously impress the other. I do not want to "hold" you, I want you to "stay" out of your own need for me."

"I may even swagger a little, and, as I read in a book somewhere, 'push myself forward like a train."

"If a man like Malcolm X could change and repudiate racism, if I myself and other former Muslims can change, if young whites can change, then there is hope for America."

"If god himself wills such misery on people whom I love, then I say I will deal with him."

"If you are not a part of the solution, you are a part of the problem."

"In prison, those things withheld from and denied to the prisoner become precisely what he wants most of all."

"I've gone beyond civil rights and human rights to creation rights."

"Our Creator never wasted his or her time creating a second-class person. He made us all first class and he provided this earth as our home for all of us, not for the black man, the white man, the red man, the yellow man, the brown man, but for the whole human family."

"Pig power in America was infuriating, but pig power in the communist framework was awesome and unaccountable."

"The "paper tiger" hero, James Bond, offering the whites a triumphant image of themselves, is saying what many whites want desperately to hear reaffirmed: I am still the White Man, lord of the land, licensed to kill, and the world is still an empire at my feet."

"The oppressor has no right to which the oppressed is bound to respect."

"The ''paper tiger'' hero, James Bond, offering the whites a triumphant image of themselves, is saying what many whites want desperately to hear reaffirmed: I am still the White Man, lord of the land, licensed to kill, and the world is still an empire at my feet."

"The Twist was a guided missile launched from the ghetto into the heart of suburbia. The Twist succeeded, as politics, religion, and law could never do, in writing in the heart and soul what the Supreme Court could only write on the books."

"The white youth of today have begun to react to the fact that the American Way of Life is a fossil of history. What do they care if their old baldheaded and crew-cut elders don't dig their caveman mops? They couldn't care less about the old, stiff-assed honkies who don't like their new dances: Frog, Monkey, Jerk, Swim, Watusi. All they know is that it feels good to swing to way-out body-rhythms instead of dragging across the dance floor like zombies to the dead beat of mind-smothered Mickey Mouse music."

"They were murderers and they still are, but policemen are like dogs on a leash.… The police function under political direction. They go after whoever they are sent after, and that's where the problem comes in.… Black people were moving out of their traditional position in America. Nobody knew what to do about it. The white politicians were confused, the blacks were confused… the police were told to go out, stop those civil-rights marches … and they went out and did that. When you talk to police now who participated in that, you find out that they were in the same position we were in — just trying to find the right formula."

"We shall have our manhood. We shall have it or the earth will be leveled by our attempts to gain it."

"We would go out and ambush cops, but if we got caught we would blame it on them and claim innocence. I did that personally in the case I was involved in.… We went after the cops that night, but when we got caught we said they came after us. We always did that. When you talk about the legacy of the '60s, that's one legacy. That's what I try to address, because it helped to distort the image of the police, but I've come to the point where I realize that our police department is necessary."

"What America demands in her black champions is a brilliant, powerful body and a dull, bestial mind."