This event is part of the Pittsburgh Humanities Festival. Learn more about the festival here.
Kathleen Neal Cleaver has spent most of her life participating in the human rights struggle. From 1967 to 1971 she was the Communications Secretary of the Black Panther Party, the first woman member of their Central Committee. After sharing years of exile with her former husband Eldridge Cleaver, she returned to the United States in late 1975.
Since that time, she graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in History from Yale College in 1984, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa after receiving a J.D. from Yale Law School in 1989. Her writing has appeared in numerous magazines and newspapers, including Ramparts, The Village Voice, The Boston and the Boston Globe. Ms. Cleaver currently holds an appointment as a Senior Lecturer at Yale University in the Department of African American Studies.
Denise Oliver-Velez is currently an adjunct Professor of Anthropology and Women's Studies at SUNY New Paltz, and is a Contributing Editor for the progressive political blog Daily Kos.
Oliver-Velez has continued as a political activist and community organizer since her days working in the Civil Rights movement, women's movement, and AIDS activism movement. She was a former member of both the Young Lords Party and the Black Panther Party in the late 1960s and early 1970s. She worked in community media and public broadcasting for many years, and was a co-founder and program director of Pacifica's first minority-controlled radio station, WPFW-FM, in Washington D.C. She was also the former Executive Director of the Black Filmmaker Foundation.
The conversation will be moderated by Dr. Christel N. Temple, who serves as Chair of the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Africana Studies where she specializes in cultural theory, comparative Black literature, socio-political thought, and Pan-Africanism. She is the author of Literary Pan-Africanism: History, Contexts, and Criticism and Lit Spaces: Introduction to Comparative Black Literature. Dr. Temple has published numerous journal articles and book chapters including studies on Malcolm X and Black cultural mythology, on Malcolm's status as an ancestor sustained by adaptations of the West African funeral dirge tradition, on Sankofa history and practice in the U.S., and on Charles Hamilton Houston's literary legal prowess. One of her most popular articles in "Communicating Race and Culture in the 21st Century: Discourse and Post-Racial/Post-Cultural Challenge" in The Journal of Multicultural Discourses. She is a native of Richmond, Virginia and has made Pittsburgh her home since 2010.