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Friends, family remember former Black Panther Cleaver

Joju Younghi Cleaver
Cleaver's daughter, Joju, and friends gather Thursday for a memorial service   
May 8, 1998
Web posted at: 9:51 a.m. EDT (1351 GMT)

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Funeral services for former Black Panther leader Eldridge Cleaver will be held Saturday in Los Angeles.

Cleaver was remembered Thursday by friends and colleagues at a memorial service held at the University of LaVerne, a small liberal arts college near Los Angeles, where he was a consultant on racial diversity.

Those who spoke of Cleaver remembered him as compassionate and concerned for the well-being of all members of society, as well as a devout Christian.

At a news conference prior to Thursday's service, Cleaver's daughter, Joju Younghi Cleaver, spoke of her father as a caring man who loved "his people," meaning "everyone under creation."

She said her father "left very strong fires that burn brightly in my brothers and as bright as ever in my heart."

Cleaver and Black Panthers
Cleaver, left, with members of the Black Panther Party   

Cleaver, 62, died May 1 at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles. No details on the cause of death were released, at the request of Cleaver's family, hospital officials said.

He was best known as a 1960s activist and author of "Soul on Ice," a book he wrote in prison that became one of the most influential works of the Black Power movement of the 1960s and 1970s.

Cleaver was one of the original Black Panthers, formed in 1966 in Oakland, California, by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale. More recently, though, he denounced his past stance and joined the Republican Party.


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