And on this day in 1983, Cleaver appeared on NC State’s campus in Poe Hall to reflect on his time as a member of the Black Panther Party in the 1960s and to call on revolutionaries to fight for a better world.
“I’ve always been curious about people who hate the term ‘revolutionary,'” Cleaver said to his audience, according to the Technician. “All of us are revolutionary.”
Cleaver said that Che Guevara, who was a guerrilla leader in Cuba, was his model for what a revolutionary should be. Communism, Cleaver said, brought about many negative effects he saw in his tours across the world, and it was democracy that was the ideal political system for a country to have. He went on to add that from that vantage point, America was in good hands, but it was the country’s economic system that was divisive and at the root of so many of society’s problems.
Cleaver died in 1998 after a controversial life, chronicled here in a New York Times piece about his life.