To the Editors:

Eldridge Cleaver, whom most of you know as the author of Soul on Ice, Minister of Information of the Black Panther Party and a Senior Editor of Ramparts Magazine, will be thrown back in jail on or about November 27, 1968.

He was released on parole three months ago on a writ of habeas corpus after being arbitrarily held for two months without so much as a hearing to determine the facts of the case.

The political reasons for the indictment of Eldridge Cleaver and for the cancellation of his parole, were clearly stated by Judge Raymond Sherwin of Solano County Superior Court, in his opinion granting habeas corpus.

“The uncontradicted evidence presented to this court indicated that the petitioner had been a model parolee. The peril to his parole status stemmed from no failure of personal rehabilitation, but from his undue eloquence in pursuing political goals…. Not only was there absence of cause for the cancellation of parole, it was the product of a type of pressure unbecoming, to say the least, to the law enforcement paraphernalia of this State.”

On September 27, 1968, however, Judge Sherwin’s decision was overthrown by the State Court of Appeals at the request of the California Adult Authority whose members are appointed by Governor Ronald Reagan.

Eldridge is an exceptional human being, one who regenerated himself after years in prison, who repudiated racism, who spoke out honestly about how America could regenerate herself after years of tolerating injustice. Heralded as a gifted writer, he could have walked out of prison into a comfortable life of royalties and literary cocktail parties. Instead, he chose to accept the dangers of organizing for the Black Panther Party. Everyone who is familiar with Cleaver’s work in the Bay Area understands how his tact, diligence and integrity helped to create the sane setting in which black people and white people could work in a cooperative effort held together on the basis of mutual respect.

We need Eldridge on the outside, and we have it within our power to affect his fate. He was paroled twice in response to public pressure. Now it is our job to bring the facts of the case before the public, so that his trial may take place in an atmosphere unpoisoned by racist hysteria.

We have formed the International Committee to Defend Eldridge Cleaver to keep Eldridge out of jail and to raise money for his defense. In order to launch the massive campaign we have planned for this country and abroad we need large sums of money immediately. We need your support. Please join us as sponsors and communicate our sense of urgency to your friends and colleagues that they may join in this fight.

Checks should be made payable to International Committee to Defend Eldridge Cleaver, and sent to same c/o Ramparts, 495 Beach Street, San Francisco, California 94113.

Yours for justice,

Robert Scheer


Ramparts Magazine,

For the Sponsors of the

International Committee

This Issue

November 21, 1968