The genuine prototype of anatomically-enhanced underwear designed by former Black Panther leader, Eldridge Cleaver, for his fashion line of Eldridge de Paris clothing. This pair of underwear was donated to the Collection by Pat Matrisciana. Pat was the gentleman who raised all of the funds and secured the legal counsel that got Eldridge Cleaver released from prison.
BACKGROUND: (NY Times) -- Eldridge Cleaver's frequent personal and political reinventions fascinated -- and sometimes appalled -- the public. Having come to prominence in the late 1960's as the author of ''Soul on Ice'' and as the mediagenic mouthpiece for the Black Panthers, Cleaver, who died in 1998, renounced his militancy in the mid-70's to join the Republican Party. Spiritually, he underwent similarly radical conversions, from being an atheist to becoming a born-again Christian who prayed with the televangelist Billy Graham. He was also a short-lived Moonie, founded the Cleaver Crusade for Christ in 1979 and the following year formed his own religion, Christlam, along with an auxiliary called the Guardians of the Sperm. Then he converted to Mormonism. Still, it may come as a surprise to many that, in 1975, Cleaver, then living in exile in Paris after a 1968 shootout with the Oakland police, took out an ad in The International Herald Tribune seeking investors and manufacturers for his fledgling men's-wear collection. ''Millions in profits envisioned,'' the classified read. It neglected to add that at the heart of the line were his patented Cleavers, pants in which a man's genitals were outlined in a socklike codpiece. ''I want to solve the problem of the fig-leaf mentality,'' Cleaver told Newsweek. ''Clothing is an extension of the fig leaf -- it put our sex inside our bodies. My pants put sex back where it should be.''
-- Jet Magazine (September 21, 1978) with pictured article, "Eldridge Cleaver Designs Pants for Men Only" -- Article starts on page 22, and goes on to detail his fashion designs. "Unlike other pants on the market, the pants that Cleaver designs and sells are tailored to accommodate the man's..." Cleaver took $42,000 from his book royalties (Soul On Ice) and lecture fees to establish Eldridge Cleaver, Ltd.