Remembering Big Man

Elbert-Big-Man-Howard-contemplates-his-book, Remembering Big Man, Culture Currents
Big Man, a deep thinker and excellent writer, contemplates his book.

by Carole Hyams-Howard

What does it mean to say one is a giant of a man? He of the unsung masses. He of the humble, singular footprint. He of the persistent, stubborn soul. He of the fearless, uncompromising spirit. He of the life is one’s actions. He of the powerful words repeating, demanding, commanding, insisting that we, the people, must be responsible, must continue the fight, the struggle for human rights and justice.

Elbert-Big-Man-Howard-in-army-uniform, Remembering Big Man, Culture Currents
Big Man taught the skills he learned in the military to other Panthers.

You know what those are. He told us. By all and any means necessary. Specific, certain and clear. Consistently. Year after year. He of the non-hesitating, no gray areas, pointed finger – right on target. He of the fiercest warrior love. He of the people all his life. His love for HIS people, THE people all his life. They say, “May he now RIP,” but he does not. His restlessness, a perpetual draft surrounding me. And I am old and I remember.

Big-Man-collage-by-Carole-Hyams-Howard, Remembering Big Man, Culture Currents
Near the middle of this collage are a Black Panther membership card signed by Huey P. Newton – Big Man was a founding member of the Party – and a press pass from Ramparts Magazine. Big Man was not only a leader, organizer and eloquent speaker but a journalist. He was the first editor of The Black Panther newspaper. He frequently contributed his wisdom for publication in the Bay View.

What does it mean to say one is a giant of a man:

Elbert “Big Man” Howard: Jan 5, 1938 – July 23, 2018, 6:13 a.m.

Carole Hyams-Howard is Big Man’s widow, an excellent photographer who has captured many historic occasions and a lifelong activist. She can be reached at