The White Race And Its Heroes

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Primary Source Analysis:

Cleaver, E. “The White Race and Its Heroes.” in Souls on Ice, 65-83. New York: Dell Press, 1968.

Journalist, civil rights activist and criminal are some of the connotations attached to Eldridge Cleaver; a prominent figure of the radical shift in the civil rights movement during the 1960s and early 1970s. Cleaver spent a majority of his upbringing in youth reform schools and prisons within the state of California, which as evidence will show, affected greatly upon his work Souls on Ice. When Cleaver was serving his time in prison he was influenced greatly by a copy of The Communist Manifesto. The Communist Manifesto alongside the works of Thomas Paine, Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, Stanley Baldwin, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Voltaire; all influenced the political ideology of Cleaver. Cleaver notes that “I began to consciously incorporating these principles into my daily life… And I began to look at white America through new eyes”. The ideals set forth by these great intellects served to form Cleaver’s views on race and the civil rights movement, his ideals were inline with the growing left-wing radicalisation of the civil rights movement. One which prefered the peaceful protests of Martin Luther King, to the violent actions set by his brothers in the Black Panther movement. One of the important influences in the writing of Souls, is the changing prison system at the time Souls was written. Souls was written as a set of memoirs in prison during the

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