[Black Panther Party, Codpiece Revival] Eldridge Cleaver Ltd. Pants [with] Photograph of Cleaver Wearing a Pair
[Black Panther Party, Codpiece Revival] Eldridge Cleaver Ltd. Pants [with] Photograph of Cleaver Wearing a Pair
[Black Panther Party, Codpiece Revival] Eldridge Cleaver Ltd. Pants [with] Photograph of Cleaver Wearing a Pair
[Black Panther Party, Codpiece Revival] Eldridge Cleaver Ltd. Pants [with] Photograph of Cleaver Wearing a Pair

[Black Panther Party, Codpiece Revival] Eldridge Cleaver Ltd. Pants [with] Photograph of Cleaver Wearing a Pair

np: Eldridge Cleaver Unlimited, ca. 1975. Maroon denim pants, approx. 37 inches length. New York: Associated Press, 1971. B/w silver gelatin print. 8 x 10 in. AP wire text af xed to verso. Item #6090

The exceptionally rare codpiece pants manufactured and distributed by the former Black Panther, Eldridge Cleaver.

An early and prominent member of the Black
Panther Party for Self-Defense, Eldridge Cleaver served as the Party’s Minister of Information and Head of the International Section of the Panthers. In 1968, facing attempted murder charges stemming from the shootout with police in which young Panther Bobby Hutton was murdered, Cleaver fled the country, first to Cuba, then to Algeria. That same year, his book Soul on Ice was published, a collection of his writings from prison after being convicted of sexual assault with intent to murder.

The book focuses on Cleaver’s personal experiences with and philosophies around crime and prison, black liberation, gender relations, black masculinity, sexuality, and love. In Algeria, he hosted expat Panthers and other radicals including Timothy Leary, whom he placed under “revolutionary arrest” for Leary’s promotion of drug use. In 1971, Cleaver was expelled from the Panthers by Huey Newton; while Cleaver argued for an escalation of urban guerilla tactics, Newton increasingly suggested a less militant approach.

Following his expulsion, Cleaver converted to evangelical Christianity and moved to Paris. In 1975, Cleaver returned to the United States to face the attempted murder charges and to launch his clothing brand, Eldridge Cleaver Ltd. During the trial, which would ultimately result in a sentence of 1,200 hours of community service, he incorporated his new fashion brand, contracted a garment factory, and opened a boutique in West Hollywood to sell the codpiece-revival “virility pants” known as “the Cleavers.”.

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