Part 14: My Friend the Devil
And so the day arrived when Soul on Ice returned to his beloved America. He flew in from Paris to land safely in an Alameda County jail cell. When Judge Lionel Wilson (soon to become Oakland's first black mayor, partly the result of organizing by the Black Panther Party) was asked to lower Cleaver's bail, Judge Wilson said Cleaver was a flight risk and therefore raised the bail instead of lowering it. Cleaver shot back that Lionel had made a career of sending blacks to San Quintin prison and other Department of Correction hell holes. Of course the Left immediately denounced Cleaver as a sell out, counter revolutionary, snitch, agent provocateur and a host of other epithets, mostly unprintable.
One person who came out in support of Cleaver was Dr. Nathan Hare. Dr. Nathan Hare said he supported Cleaver because he had fought the white man once and a man who had fought once might fight again (Dr. Hare being a boxer while teaching at Howard University). On the other hand, a lot of his critics had never fought the white man and had no intention to do so, but simply ran their mouths talking loud but saying nothing, in the words of ancestor James Brown. I believe Dr. Hare was part of the Cleaver support committee.
After a short time Cleaver was able to make bail when a rich Christian insurance man, Art DeMoss, came to town with a brief case full of stock.
Once out on bail, the Christians swooped Cleaver up and onto the Born Again circuit, joining other Born Again superstars such as Charles Colson of Watergate fame, Pat Boone, Hal Lindsey, Jim and Tammy Baker, Rev. Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and the Grand Master, Rev. Billy Graham.
Cleaver was paid four thousands a shot to give his testimony about how he saw Jesus Christ in the moon. He called it his "moon shot," but later changed the title to "The Golden Shower," or I pissed on you.
I observed Cleaver from afar, disgusted as were most other revolutionaries with Cleaver's crawling back on the plantation like a runaway slave too fearful to enjoy freedom. We clearly understand that he left because he refused to return prison after serving eighteen years. Could his attitude be similar to Louvell Mixson's, who killed four OPD police because he refused to go back to prison on a parole violation? Mixon found freedom in death, Cleaver in exile, so perhaps he was ungrateful he had escaped since there are other Panthers in exile who probably will never come home, certainly not in the manner of Cleaver, e.g. Asata Shakur, Pete O'Neil and Donald Cox.
But Cleaver rode high on the Born Again circuit, speaking to thousands at Christian events throughout America. The Christians rushed into publication a book entitled Soul on Fire. A brother in the hood remarked that after Soul on Ice and Soul on Fire, his next book should have been titled Soul Out!
For earlier sections of this narrative, go to www.marvinxwrites.blogspot.com or www.nathanielturner.com.