Elaine Brown: The Woman Who Once Led The Black Panther Is Now Leading The Fight For Affordable Housing

by Gee NY

Elaine Brown, the former leader of the Black Panther Party and a tireless civil rights activist, is reigniting her passion for social justice in West Oakland, California.

At 80 years old, Brown, through her nonprofit organization, Oakland & the World Enterprises, is embarking on a transformative project to redevelop Seventh Street into what was once known as the “Harlem of the West.”

This ambitious project aims to co-develop 79 affordable housing units, catering to extremely low-income families in the community. Brown believes this endeavor is an essential investment, not only in housing but also in reducing recidivism, crime, and poverty.

Her remarkable energy and dedication are proof that age is no barrier to fighting for the betterment of her people.

The housing complex, aptly named “The Black Panther,” is a $80-million project set to open its doors in April 2024, reports Black Enterprise.

It will not only provide housing but also host five businesses, including the ground-floor Tule restaurant. Brown’s vision for this vacant lot has been a dream for over three decades, and she navigated the city’s bureaucracy to secure the necessary permits for development.

Elaine Brown’s commitment to empowering the Black community extends to her choice of contractors for the project. She insisted on working exclusively with Black contractors, emphasizing the importance of representation and opportunity in the construction industry.

Antoine Long, the project manager, expressed the significance of this approach, highlighting that it inspires others to believe in their potential.

This venture has garnered support from fellow activists Misty Cross and Tolani King, who see it as a remarkable opportunity for Black residents to participate in Oakland’s development.

At a time when affordable housing is scarce, “The Black Panther” represents an inclusive alternative to address this pressing issue in Oakland.

Elaine Brown’s legacy as a civil rights leader remains strong, rooted in her commitment to addressing the rights and needs of marginalized communities.

The Black Panther Party, which she chaired, was founded in Oakland in 1966 by Huey P. Newton and had a mission to fight for various rights, including housing, healthcare, and education, with a particular focus on the Black community.

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