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KGGV’s Elbert “Big Man” Howard to receive Media Legacy award

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012 | Posted by

Elbert “Big Man” Howard  Photo: Carole Hyams

Elbert “Big Man” Howard, a Sonoma County resident since 2005 was surprised and honored to learn from The San Francisco Bay View National Black Newspaper,  that he is to be included in the list of honorees who will be receiving awards at this year’s Black Media Appreciation Night on Monday, Nov. 26, 8pm, at Yoshi’s in Oakland.

The Bay View,  founded in 1976, is a communications network for the Black community worldwide, and sfbayview.com is one of  the most visited online Black newspapers. It also mails its free print edition  to subscribers, and to  hundreds of prisoners all over the country.

It publishes “exciting, thought-provoking stories and commentary on the full range of Black trials and triumphs – covering the Black economy, politics, arts, education, history, current events, health, religion – and those of other communities.” It is also widely acknowledged as  “the voice of Black Liberation” and  its mission  “aims to equip and inspire Black people and all people to rise up and fight for freedom and justice, to build unity within the community and solidarity with other communities.”

“Big Man” (as he prefers to be  called) was advised that the award he’s to receive was “in recognition of your extraordinary contributions to independent Black media,” specifically a “Black Resistance Media Legacy Award: Black Panther Newspaper.”  Ducho Dennis, Bobby Seale and Emory Douglas have been designated to receive a like award.

Elbert Howard was born almost 75 years ago in segregated Tennessee where his experiences and struggles as a second-class citizen fired his political and social consciousness and motivated him to do what he could to change the injustices and dehumanization he found intolerable.

After a stint with the Air Force in Europe, Howard enrolled in an Oakland college, meeting Bobby Seale and Huey P. Newton, and becoming  one of the six original founding members of the Black Panther Party, and serving as a Black Panther from 1966 to 1974.
As the first editor of the Black Panther’s newspaper, he helped popularize it and build its circulation to 200,000 copies per week.

Traveling the world as Deputy Minister of Information and International Spokesperson for

Big Man (far right) at Black Panther demonstration, Oakland, 1968 photo: Pirkle Jones

The Black Panther Party, Big Man also established and administrated an educational program at Merritt (Grove Street College) for ex-offenders as well as a campus community medical clinic.

Howard, born in Chattanooga,  journeyed to Memphis in 1974, where he worked in retail and  focused on community activism, becoming coordinator for an ex-offender re-entry program in 2003 and serving on the Board of the Muumbi Charter School. He also found time to serve on the Board of Directors of the African American Institute of Higher Learning.
Dedicating his life to serving the people as a human rights activist,  a lecturer, political educator and author, he is a founding member of PACH – the Police Accountability Clinic and Helpline, which serves community members who have complaints regarding law enforcement.

Big Man currently hosts a Saturday night jazz and blues show, “Jazz Styles” on KGGV-LP 95.1 F.M., an all-volunteer 24/7 station in Guerneville. He is also the current chair of the Programming Committee for which he prepares a monthly agenda and contacts other committee members and program hosts as needed.
Says Howard, “As a life-long student and lover of music and radio, it gives me great fulfillment and joy to have the opportunity to share the music I have always loved with all of you.”
He also hosts Voices from Behind the Walls,  a program which features guest readers who present the writings of political prisoners and others whose voices have been virtually silenced, on community radio station KWTF.

A dedicated and conscientious community activist also believes it’s important to continue to share important writings and information that may not be easily obtained elsewhere.
States Howard.  “Educate to liberate, each one teach one” – phrases repeated often by the Black Panther Party, still ring true to me these many years later”.

Elbert “Big Man” Howard lives with his spouse Carole Hyams-Howard in Forestville.

If you would like to join the 300+ people expected to attend the award ceremony:

When: 8 p.m., Monday, Nov. 26

Where: Yoshi’s, 510 Embarcadero West, Jack London Square, Oakland

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Stephen Gross, The River correspondent

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