Joining the BPP
Two men were responsible for first bringing Elaine into the BPP; two men who brought out within her a feeling of what the Black Power Movement meant, potential and sacrifice, a fight for equality …

Bunchy Carter was originally the leader of L.A.'s Slauson gang. So inspired was he after a meeting with the leader of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, Huey Newton, that he converted on the spot. As he still held the loyalties of much of the Slauson gang, Bunchy was well equipped to found the L.A. chapter of the BPP.

He made a rather dramatic entrance into Elaine's life and into L.A. as a Black Panther, announcing the formation of the chapter at a Black Poetry Slam. Bunchy entered the Poetry Slam (late) with twenty men, several openly armed, and recited some of his poetry. Then he declared the creation and the purpose of the L.A. chapter.

Soul on Ice, Eldridge Cleaver's autobiographical memoirs had swept Elaine away. Eldridge Cleaver was the Black Panther Party's minister of information, and Elaine, who had read through his book in two nights, was incredibly eager to meet the author. She did meet him at a fundraiser, gave him the poem she wrote for him, and spends hours and hours speaking with him that night. A week later:
The death of Martin Luther King Jr. (April, 1969) , was succeeded by riots, protests, mourning, and among other events, a shoot-out with the police and the BPP. Bobby Hutton was killed and an injured Cleaver was put into jail. She joined the ranks of the BPP the same month.