When Reason Met Eldridge Cleaver
Former Reason staffer Bill Kauffman remembers some interviews he did for us in the '80s:
My first interview was back in 1985, when Lynn Scarlett, an engaging New Leftist who wound up in G.W. Bush's subcabinet, and I traveled to Berkeley to spend the day chatting with Black Panther Eldridge Cleaver for Reason. When Eldridge—a loquacious and fascinating guy—got up to take a whizz, we glanced at his files. The two I remember were devoted to "Sperm" and whether Jim Morrison was extant or extinct.
I also interviewed a one-time Panther sympathizer, Clarence Thomas, who impressed me as friendly and intellectually curious. I liked the Booker T. Washington/Marcus Garvey/Malcolm X self-help streak in Thomas, then EEOC chairman.
Ted Kennedy later used that interview in the Thomas hearings to paint the nominee as a radical libertarian. If only!
You can read Kauffman's Cleaver interview here and his Thomas interview here. For more about those pants in the picture, go here.